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Summer inevitably means sun exposure and unfortunately, there is no such thing as a safe tan. UV radiation always causes an inflammatory reaction – a sunburn. Weather the UV light burns or tans you, it always damages skin cells in ways that accelerate skin-ageing by damaging collagen fibers and destroying vitamin A.

There are two types of UV light: ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB). UVA impacts skin aging, while UVB causes sunburn. When exposed to sunlight, melanin is produced by the melanocytes to protect the skin, causing the skin to darken. When this happens, you have a tan.

Melanin is one of the fundamental defense mechanisms of our whole body; it is there for reason. It protects the skin from UV radiation, and is therefore crucial for our existence. Melanin also produces vitamin D, which is important for calcium absorption – healthy bones, although supplement is often recommended. People with light skin have less melanin, therefore burn easier.

From an aesthetic point of view sun damage such as hyperpigmentation, sun keratosis, dry skin, and fine lines and wrinkles are the most common results of exposing the skin to UV light. Most affected areas are the forehead, décolletage and hands. There are however some skin conditions, such as psoriasis, that benefit from controlled and short term exposure to sunlight, but here it is paramount to consult your dermatologist.

Remember to wear sunscreen and stay protected from those summer rays.

The article is based on our interview with experienced skin therapist and trainer Jessica Delst from Rebel Helsinki.

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