How to Sunbathe Safely without Harming Your Skin?

  • Dr. Mally 
  • 8 min read
How to Sunbathe Safely

An even tan is strongly associated with health and beauty. However, the sun can not only give the skin a bronze tint, but also cause rashes, blisters and age spots. In this article we’ll discuss – how to sunbathe safely without harming your skin. How can you protect yourself from these problems?

Caution, Medications!

Sunburn is nothing more than a protective reaction of the skin to damage from ultraviolet rays, in response to which special cells called melanocytes begin to produce the pigment melanin. It serves as a kind of “sun umbrella” for the skin and gives it a dark color. That is, the appearance of sunburn is, in fact, a signal that the skin is suffering.

The intensity of tanning depends on the phototype of a person – dark-skinned, dark-haired people have a larger supply of melanocytes, so their skin is better protected from the sun and their tan appears brighter. Pale-faced blondes with a small number of pigment cells in the skin react to the sun’s rays with the appearance of burns, because their protection from ultraviolet radiation is weak.

How to Sunbathe Safely
How to Sunbathe Safely

Also, the speed and intensity of tanning can be influenced by nutrition. For example, strict vegetarians who have been following their diet for many years often tan worse than meat eaters. The fact is that proteins contained in meat, milk and fish are the “building blocks” for any skin cells, including melanocytes. Therefore, if there are not enough protein products in the diet, the skin can react to the sun’s rays with burns and the appearance of various rashes.

Certain medications can also increase your skin’s sensitivity to UV light. Among these drugs are tetracycline antibiotics (doxycycline), oral contraceptives, antidepressants, antihistamines, drugs for the treatment of acne, containing large doses of retinoids. When combined with the sun’s rays, these medications can lead to age spots or photo-dermatosis (“sun allergies”). Moreover, what exactly occurs – solar urticaria or dark spots – also depends on the phototype. The darker the skin, the more likely it is that excessive pigmentation will appear, the lighter the skin, the higher the risk of itching, redness and breakouts.

Under Protection

To avoid all these problems, it is worth preparing your skin in advance to meet the sun’s rays. Taking vitamins and dietary supplements with antioxidants can help. These substances protect the skin from any damage and promote its regeneration. Among these elements are vitamin E, zinc, selenium, coenzyme Q10, resveratrol, vitamin C, lipoic acid, vitamin A in small doses. You should start taking these supplements at least a couple of weeks before your trip to the beach.

How to Sunbathe Safely?
How to Sunbathe Safely?

Don’t forget sunscreen too. It is worth using such cosmetics even in the middle lane. The ozone layer that envelops our planet is thinning from year to year, and more and more ultraviolet radiation penetrates the Earth’s surface, which can damage the skin. Therefore, even in the city, it is worth using cosmetics with an SPF filter of at least 10-15. And if you go south, the protection should be even higher. It is good if the chosen cosmetics contain not only protective components, but also antioxidants.

But with tanning oils, you should be careful. Despite the fact that they contain protective components, when applied to the skin, any oil “attracts” ultraviolet light. Therefore, such cosmetics can be used only after the skin “gets used” to the sun and develops pigment.

How Will We Treat?

It happens that, despite all the precautions, the sun’s rays still damage the skin. Depending on how the skin reacted to the excess of ultraviolet radiation, treatment is selected.

Photodermatosis. It manifests itself as a rash, itching, redness of the skin. It can occur against the background of taking certain medications, as well as when using cosmetics and perfumes containing citrus essential oils and musk. Under the influence of sunlight, these substances change their structure and turn into a fairly strong allergen. Photodermatosis is treated in the same way as any allergic reaction – antihistamines and topical agents with corticosteroids are prescribed. And of course, you should avoid the sun’s rays.

Sunburn. It makes itself felt by swelling, redness, burning, pain, and sometimes the appearance of blisters. Treat sunburns with local remedies that can be purchased at the pharmacy. Typically, these ointments and sprays contain panthenol, aloe juice, and other ingredients to soothe and moisturize the skin. It is also worth taking an antihistamine and trying not to injure the damaged skin. As for sour cream, which is often used to treat sunburns, this remedy is not unambiguous. On the one hand, sour cream creates a protective film on the skin that prevents swelling from spreading, and on the other hand, it contains lactic acid, which additionally irritates the damaged area. Therefore, it is still better to prefer pharmaceutical products.

Dark spots.  Usually appear in places where the skin has been injured. The fact is that melanocytes are not only responsible for tanning, but also participate in the restoration of the skin. In response to any damage (cut, exposure to aggressive chemicals, after peels and hair removal), the skin begins to actively produce melanocytes. Over time, the wound heals, but melanocytes remain in the damaged area. And, as soon as ultraviolet light hits the skin, active production of pigment begins in this place and a dark spot appears. There are not so few remedies for combating age spots. Among them there are both salon and home treatments.

How to Sunbathe Safely?
How to Sunbathe Safely?

It is possible to even out skin color with the help of chemical peels, laser resurfacing, phototherapy. However, it is better to postpone most salon procedures until the fall. The fact is that almost all of them injure the skin to one degree or another. And in combination with active sun, any damage can cause the appearance of new age spots. Therefore, in summer, it is better to give preference to less aggressive local remedies that do not exfoliate darkened skin, but reduce the production of dark pigment. Usually such creams contain kojic acid, arbutin, niacinamide, phytic acid, vitamin C.

These products can be used not only to eliminate existing age spots, but also to prevent the appearance of new ones. Therefore, those who are going on vacation should purchase such cosmetics in advance. Usually such creams contain kojic acid, arbutin, niacinamide, phytic acid, vitamin C. These products can be used not only to remove existing age spots, but also to prevent the appearance of new ones. Therefore, those who are going on vacation should purchase such cosmetics in advance. Usually such creams contain kojic acid, arbutin, niacinamide, phytic acid, vitamin C. These products can be used not only to remove existing age spots, but also to prevent the appearance of new ones. Therefore, those who are going on vacation should purchase such cosmetics in advance.

By the Way

There is no single way to keep your tan. The time that the dark shade will stay on the skin depends on the rate of skin renewal, which is different for everyone, and on how long and in what latitudes the person has sunbathed. Southern tanning usually lasts longer.

You may also like to read: Skin Pigmentation: Causes, Treatment and Effective Home Remedies.

Important Beach Safety Rules

  • Do not sunbathe during the daytime (from 12.00 to 15.00), when the sun is especially active.
  • Use protective cosmetics. In the first days of vacation, it is better to use a cream with an SPF of 50 or higher. After 3-4 days, you can use cosmetics with a weaker filter.
  • Do not forget to apply the protective agent especially carefully on the delicate skin under the knees, in the elbow folds, on the neck.
  • Wear caps and hats with brims to protect your face. The skin there is especially sensitive to ultraviolet light, so age spots and burns most often appear on the face.