Since July is UV Awareness Month, I thought it was a great time to discuss a passion of mine: protecting your skin and how it relates to your overall health! The sun effuses ultraviolet (UV) rays at all times of the year, even on those cold, cloudy days. During the summer months, sun exposure increases and can amplify the sun’s harmful effects. 

Sun damage is more than just sunburns and skin cancer. Oftentimes, it’s something that goes completely unnoticed. Here are a few things to watch out for when stepping out into the sunshine this summer season!

1. Damage to your Vision

Both UVA and UVB rays from the sun can damage your eyesight. UVA rays can hurt your central vision, while UVB rays can cause even more damage by affecting the lens and cornea. If not protected properly, sun exposure can cause future vision loss, cataracts, skin cancer around the eye, and corneal sunburn.

Tip: Wear sunglasses that protect your eyes from UV rays, even in the colder months. Be careful though, not all glasses contain UV-protecting technology. You can find a list of some options here!

2. Melasma

Melasma is a skin condition that’s caused by the overproduction of the skin’s pigment-making cells. This leads to dark patches on the skin, particularly on your forehead and cheeks. Melasma can also be caused by a combination of hormone changes and UV exposure. 

Tip: Since your melanin cells are on the fritz, it’s especially crucial to apply sunscreen to your face at all times. It’s a good idea to ask your doctor about ways you can control your hormone levels. You can also use a melasma treatment in the meantime to help reverse its effects.

3. Early Aging

Excess sun exposure can accelerate the aging process immensely. Before you know it, wrinkles and age spots are forming in your early 30’s. This happens because as UV rays penetrate your skin, they begin to break down collagen, the protein of youth. 

Tip: Use beauty products that contain SPF. Nowadays, most makeup products and moisturizers contain at least SPF 15, so it’s easy. Protip: Once you’ve applied sunscreen to your face, consider applying the remainder to the back of your hands. This will ensure you have youthful hands as well!

4. Harm To Your Hair

Most of us are familiar with the sun lightening our hair and giving us those all-natural highlights. However, just as putting a straightener to our hair causes damage, so does unprotected sun exposure. The sun can cause discoloration, split ends, frizziness, and even hair thinning. 

Tip: Use UV protectant hair products and wear hats in particularly sunny weather. This will help maintain your color and keep your hair moisturized and strong. Additionally, wearing a hat can protect your scalp from getting sunburned because ouch! For a complete post of how I keep my hair healthy in the summer click here!

5. Sun Poisoning

Although no sunburn is good for your skin, sun poisoning definitely signals a bad sunburn. When this happens, your skin develops small, painful blisters along with flu-like symptoms. If this happens to you, it’s important to get out of the sun immediately.

Tip: The best way to prevent sun poisoning is by wearing SPF 30 sunscreen or higher and to apply it 30 minutes before going outside. Wearing sun-protective clothing can also help protect your skin from harmful UV rays, which is especially important if you’ve already gotten a sunburn.

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