Do I Really Need to Wear Sunscreen?

Do I Really Need to Wear Sunscreen?

Yes, you do.

Research suggests that sunscreen is an essential tool in preventing the harmful side effects of prolonged sun exposure.

That said, we’ll be the first to say get yourself out into the sun for 15 minutes each day without sunscreen. The body's ability to produce vitamin D from sunlight is a key factor in supporting overall health.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

The sun emits radiation in the forms of ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB), and even ultraviolet C (UVC) rays. 

UVC radiation doesn’t penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere, so we can disregard it for the purpose of skincare. 

In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about UVA and UVB rays, and why defending yourself from prolonged exposure is crucial for healthy skin. 

What Are UVA Rays?

UVA rays have the longest wavelength of all three types and represent ~95% of UV radiation on Earth. Their ability to penetrate deep into the layers of the skin can lead to unwanted cosmetic developments and skin conditions. 

The capacity of UVA rays to infiltrate the dermis - whose role is to support and safeguard the middle layer of skin - primarily contributes to premature aging, fine lines and wrinkles. 

While UVB rays play a more significant role in the formation of skin cancer, UVA rays also contribute to the development of cancerous skin cells, particularly melanoma, by creating DNA-damaging molecules within the dermis.

“But clouds will protect me right?” 

Nope - UVA rays are active throughout the day and pierce through clouds (and even glass!).

To add insult to injury, changing seasons and daytimes have less of an impact on the intensity of UVA radiation as opposed to UVB. 

What Are UVB Rays? 

Didn’t we mention skin cancer a moment ago?

Yes, we did and it's back.

UVB rays have a shorter wavelength as compared to that of UVA rays and affect the outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermis.

The epidermis sits on top of the dermis and its job is to act as a personal bodyguard against germs and outside elements, like the sun.

UVB rays are responsible for sunburn, breaking down DNA in skin cells present in the epidermis layer.

Recurring sunburn and inflammation left untreated can lead to the development of skin cancers, including melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.

The intensity of UVB rays, unlike UVA rays, depends on the time of day and season. As expected they are more pronounced during mid-day and in the late-Spring and Summer months.

However, it isn’t all bad.

UVB exposure is critical for vitamin D production in the body which is essential for optimal skin cell and immune system health.

The Harmful Side Effects Of Prolonged Sun Exposure

Extended exposure to the sun can lead to a number of negative and potentially dangerous side effects, ranging in severity.

They include: 

  • Skin Cancer, including melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma
  • Actinic Keratoses, a precancerous skin condition
  • Sunburn
  • Hyperpigmentation, such as sunspots, freckles and melasma
  • Premature Aging
  • Dehydration
  • Eye Damage
  • Weakened Immune Response 

According to a recent study published by the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology (AEDV), skin cancer and actinic keratoses were diagnosed in greater than 10% and 40% of golfers studied.

Further research suggests avid golfers are 250% more likely to develop skin cancer than the non-golfer (which we didn’t even know existed).

The cumulative effects of UV radiation puts an increased burden on avid golfers to defend against harmful sun exposure. 

We’re here to help.