Dangers of The Sun

Summer weather brings many people outdoors to bask in the sun’s warmth, for the Sunlight helps our bodies create vitamin D. However, spending time in the sun without the right protection exposes the skin to harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The UV radiation spectrum is divided into three bands: UVA, UVB, and UVC. Little UVC radiation reaches the earth because it is filtered out by the ozone layer. UVB radiation is the principal cause of sunburn reactions and is the wavelength band that is mostly associated with inducing skin cancer. UVA radiation is responsible for causing a slow natural tan to develop and may also contribute to the cancer-causing potential of UVB radiation. Sun exposure can cause both acute and chronic injury to the skin. It is well documented that long-term sun exposure, with or without sunburn, can cause harmful effects. Sunscreen lotions are more effective in protecting against shorter ultraviolet wavelengths (UVB) than against longer wavelengths (UVA).

Long-term sun exposure has been associated with premature aging of the skin, malignant changes in the skin, development of lip cancer and corneal opacities. Severe skin damage is characterized by wrinkles, brown age spots, blotchiness, and leathery, sagging skin. Mild cases result in painful, reddened skin. More severe cases may result in swelling and blisters, fever, chills, weakness, and even shock. People with pale skin may also experience peeling and itching days after a serious burn. The most dangerous and fearsome risk is development of malignant melanoma which can be a lethal tumor. Other skin tumors which can develop from chronic sun exposure include squamous cell and basal cell carcinomas, pre-cancerous lesions (actinic keratoses), sunburns, photo-aging (wrinkles and brown age spots), photosensitivity disease and cataract formation. Symptoms may begin as soon as one hour after exposure and typically reach their peak after one day. The most effective way to protect the skin against sunburn, premature wrinkling, and cancer is to limit time in the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun’s rays are strongest.

Prickly Heat – Milinia

Prickly Heat (milinia) is a common condition caused due to overheating of the skin and inadequate sun protection. It usually surfaces on the clothed regions of the body like armpits, back, upper chest, groin or abdomen. Sometimes, prickly heat can manifest itself in the form of tiny blisters spread over the top of the arms, neck and back or at times, it can be a certain type of redness on the skin. Prickly heat can surface irrespective of the age factor. Active people, infants in incubators, bedridden patients with high fever are the potential victims of heat rash. The symptoms of prickly heat constitute small itchy red bumps on the skin amongst others. Prickly heat may be stinging, or burning. It may, though rarely develop secondary infection. It begins with excessive perspiration. The perspiration tends to damage the cells on the surface of the skin. This in turn forms a barrier and traps the sweat beneath the skin, resulting in characteristic bumps. When these bumps burst, sweat is released causing prickly, stinging, or burning feeling.

In order to prevent prickly heat, use of a sunscreen with a minimum SPF15 is recommended at least 2 minutes prior to going out in the sun and reapplication may be necessary if you intend staying out more than 3 hours. Avoid humid environments, strenuous physical activity. Do not apply oil-based products to your skin as they may block the sweat glands. Wear loose fitting, cotton or natural fiber clothing and a wide brimmed hat to protect your skin from harsh UV rays and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Do not let perspiration dry on your skin as this can lead to further clogging of skin pores; instead wipe away with a clean towel or handkerchief and keep skin dry. If you experience a prolonged heat rash, seek immediate medical attention.

We are offering Prickly Heat Gel Wash a mild, foaming gel without soap for face and body. Its cleaning action with moisturising agents and plants extracts leaves the skin smooth and soft. It is ideal for every day use and after swimming. With its antibacterial anti-fungal agents which have antiseptic and anti-itching properties, for calming and soothing relief. It has supplementary vitamins,which are ideal for irritating skin. The gel is void of oil and is fragrance free. It combines with our Prickly heat lotion for the treatment of skin irritations, calms and soothes sunburns, for itching, pimples and for oily skins. Its ingredients give a cooling, soothing and anti-itching action, which relieves prickly heat, sunburn, reddening and rashes, caused by sweating. Both products are ideal for the sensitive skin of children, suffering from chicken-pox and adults with shingles.

Sun allergy

A sun allergy is an immune system reaction to sunlight, most often, an itchy red rash. Sun allergies occur only in certain sensitive people, and in some cases, they can be triggered by only a few brief moments of sun exposure. The most common locations include the “V” of the neck, the back of the hands, the outside surface of the arms and the lower legs. In rare cases, the skin reaction may be more severe, producing hives or small blisters that may even spread to skin in clothed areas. Sun allergies are triggered by changes that occur in sun-exposed skin. It is not clear why the body develops this reaction. However, the immune system recognizes some components of the sun-altered skin as “foreign,” and the body activates its immune defenses against them. This produces an allergic reaction that takes the form of a rash, tiny blisters or, rarely, some other type of skin eruption.

Scientists do not know exactly why some people develop a sun allergy and others do not. There is evidence, however, that some forms of sun allergy are inherited.

A few of the most common types of sun allergy are:

Polymorphous light eruption (PMLE)

PMLE, which usually appears as an itchy rash on sun-exposed skin, is the second most common sun-related skin problem seen by doctors, after common sunburn. Women are affected by PMLE more often than men, and symptoms typically begin during young adult life. In temperate climates, PMLE is usually rare in the winter, but common during the spring and summer months. In many cases, the PMLE rash returns every spring, immediately after the person begins spending more time outside. As spring turns into summer, repeated sun exposure may cause the person to become less sensitive to sunlight, and the PMLE rash either may disappear totally or gradually become less severe. Although the effects of this desensitization process, called “hardening,” usually last through the end of the summer, the PMLE rash often returns at full intensity the following spring.

Actinic prurigo (hereditary PMLE)

This inherited form of PMLE occurs in people of American Indian background, including the American Indian populations of North, South and Central America. Its symptoms are usually more intense than those of classic PMLE, and they often begin earlier, during childhood or adolescence. Several generations of the same family may have a history of the problem.

Photoallergic eruption

In this form of sun allergy, a skin reaction is triggered by the effect of sunlight on a chemical that has been applied to the skin (often an ingredient in sunscreen, fragrances, cosmetics or antibiotic ointments) or ingested in a drug (often a prescription medicine). Common prescription medicines that can cause a photoallergic eruption include antibiotics (especially tetracyclines and sulfonamides), phenothiazines used to treat psychiatric illness, diuretics for high blood pressure and heart failure, and certain oral contraceptives. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also has linked some cases of photoallergic reaction to the nonprescription pain relievers ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin and others) and naproxen sodium (Aleve, Naprosyn and others).

Solar urticaria

This form of sun allergy produces hives (large, itchy, red bumps) on sun-exposed skin. It is a rare condition that most often affects young women.

We are offering Sunscreen gel (SPF 8 and 12) specially formulated for children and adults with sensitive and allergy prone skin. It encapsulates and forms a natural derma screen which improves adequate sun protection. Not only is it water-resistant and oil free, but suitable for face and body. It contains UVA/ UVB sunscreens to protect from sun burning and premature ageing with emollient and moisturizing factors to relieve the skin. This product is part of our specialist sun allergy system and is fragrance and PABA free.

Contact Suncare Solutions for more details about the dangers of the sun or call 01292 5604888.