Your skin and the sun

Someone once joked that the sun needs to stop showing off as it remains the hottest thing on earth. I totally agree!!

It’s no secret that your skin gets a good dose of vitamin D from the early morning sun, but how much is too much? Where do you draw the line between nourishing your skin and keeping it from premature ageing and burn?

There are six skin types in relation to the sun and burn risk. These skin types are categorized based on the concentration of melanocytes (cells that give the skin its color) on the surface of the skin. Knowing where you fall will go a long way in helping you reduce any skin damage caused by the sun.

  • Type 1; People in this category have VERY fair skin, very light blond or red hair, are prone to freckles and have green or blue eyes. Europeans easily fall into this category. This skin type hardly tans (always gets burnt and very prone to skin cancer) and TOTAL sunblock should be used.
  • Type 2; Skin in this category burns easily and tans with difficulty. Hair can be blond or light brown and eyes are blue or brown. Should use SPF 20 and above. Total sunblock can be used on delicate areas.
  • Type 3; Skin sometimes gets burnt but tans very well. Hair is light brown and eyes are brown or green. Sunscreen with SPF 20 is ideal for this group.
  • Type 4; People with this skin type are usually found in the Mediterranean region. They have dark brown eyes and hair. Their skin rarely burns and tans easily and they are less likely to develop skin cancer than skin types 1 & 2. But with continuous exposure, their skin will age prematurely and become saggy. Sunscreen with SPF 15 is recommended.
  • Type 5; Skin in this category are not as vulnerable to UV-related ageing or skin cancer but this doesn’t mean care shouldn’t be taken. They have brown to light black skin and should use sunscreen with SPF 10 if they have to stay out in the sun for an extended period.
  • Type 6; This skin type is typical to Africans and Afro-Caribbeans. They have darker black-brown skin, black-brown eyes and hair. The skin hardly ever burns. For prolonged exposure, use SPF 8.

When using sunscreen, lavishly apply on areas not covered by clothing a few minutes before heading out under the sun, but do well to avoid staying out between 12 noon and 3 o’clock: this is when the sun is at its hottest!

After unexpected or prolonged sun exposure, use an after-sun soother. Aloe Vera works very well. If you have the real plant, just snap off a leaf and apply the sap directly to the affected areas. Or choose an after-sun product based on Aloe, just make sure Aloe barbadensis is the first ingredient on the label.

If you fall into Type 5 or 6 skin type and you seem prone to sunburn, you might need to re-examine the ingredients used in your skin care products as it may be eroding the protective melanocytes on the surface of your skin. Better still, visit a certified dermatologist.

Did you get value from todays’ post? Let me know in the comment section below.

Author: nwaka

Master International Makeup Professional, Beauty Consultant, Beauty blogger, Daughter, Sister, Wife and Mother.

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