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The sun, by means of its ultraviolet rays, destroys the skin. It causes changes in colour or appearance: the skin can go red or tan, it can become rough or peel in some places. Ultraviolet rays indeed lead to the formation of marks or lesions.
When we discuss the dangers linked to the sun, we immediately think of the risk of developing cancerous skin lesions. However, long before this stage, there are many possible changes of the skin. These changes are independent from the natural skin ageing process, even if they appear to look identical. Sun spots are indeed only caused by accumulated hours of sun exposure without protection from ultraviolet rays.
Attacks from ultraviolet rays
Received in high doses, ultraviolet rays, or UV rays, can be responsible for a variety of phenomena:
- They are responsible for marks such as freckles, beauty spots, flat lesions and ones that are rough to the touch (keratosis) or age spots;
- They sometimes cause allergies;
- They accelerate skin ageing in an irreversible way. Premature wrinkles can form in some cases ;
- They increase the risk of « photo-induced » cancers like skin carcinomas (80% of cases) and melanomas (15 to 20% of cases).
We are not all made equal when faced with the sun. The genetic profile of each person determines their personal sensitivity. Accordingly, dark skin adapts better to ultraviolet rays and hot, humid environments than white skin.
At birth, each of us can be classified into one of six phenotypes of human being and this lasts our whole life. The classifications below take into account skin, hair and eye colour.
- 0 = albinos. The body does not make any melanin at all, the protective pigment which gives colour to skin and hair.
- 1 = redhead. Skin gets sunburnt, but does not tan. Produces too little melanin.
- 2 = blond with light eyes. Skin gets sunburnt then tans lightly.
- 3 = Light brown hair. Skin gets sunburnt then tans.
- 4 = Brunette. Tans without getting sunburnt.
- 5 = Mediterranean, mixed race. Tans without getting sunburnt.
- 6 = Black. Tans without getting sunburnt.
The passage of time does not change your skin colour in any way whatsoever. Instead, even if you have dark or olive skin and you tan easily, you still cannot avoid sun spots if you expose yourself to the sun with taking precautions.
There is no set season for protecting yourself
To benefit from the sun without danger:
- Apply appropriate suncare products, with high protection factors
- Avoid exposing yourself to the sun between 11am and 4pm
- Renew the application of the cream every two hours