Understanding the sun’s rays

Ballantyne dermatologist - Charlotte, NC

Your Ballantyne dermatologist encourages people of all ages to be diligent about sunscreen protection. There are a number of articles that are touting the importance of sun exposure as a means of getting proper levels of vitamin D. The common misconception is that the sun creates vitamin D. Rather, ultraviolet radiation converts the vitamin D in your skin to its usable form. The average adult needs between 600 to 800 international units of vitamin D daily. You can easily obtain these amounts through the consumption of foods such as salmon, tuna, fortified milk, juice, and cereal. The problem is that this misconception regarding sunlight is causing people to seek sun exposure for health reasons, when the sun exposure is actually more harmful than helpful.

Ultra violet rays from the sun are responsible for the golden tan to which so many people aspire. Many people perceive bronzed skin to be the look of someone who is vibrant and healthy. In reality, when your skin darkens, this is actually a warning sign that your body is trying to prevent damage from the sun. The sun emits two different types of ultra violet rays that can impact your health, they are UVA and UVB. We want to help you understand the difference between the two, and why it is important to protect your skin from both types.

UVA rays

UVA rays damage and affect the skin by causing wrinkles, a leathery appearance, sagging skin, and sun spots. UVA rays are present even on overcast and gloomy days. They can even penetrate some types of clothing. UVA rays are less likely to cause sunburn, but they significantly increase your risk of skin cancer, especially melanoma. UVA rays have also be shown to accelerate skin aging.

UVB rays

UVB rays cause sunburn and are mainly linked to the development of skin cancer. UVB rays are at the highest levels between 10am and 4pm all year around, but especially during the summer months.

Using sunscreen to protect your skin

We strongly advise the use of sunscreen to protect you from all the risks of sun exposure, but that is only part of the picture. Sun protection goes beyond slathering on some sunscreen, it also requires you to develop safe sun habits.

  1. Seek shade when appropriate, try to avoid the sun’s rays between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  2. Get vitamin D through a healthy diet that may include vitamin supplements.
  3. Avoid tanning beds. UV rays from the sun and tanning beds can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.
  4. Check your skin monthly. If you notice any changes, visit your Charlotte dermatologist.
  5. Wear protective clothing such as long-sleeved shirts, pants, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses.
  6. Apply a broad spectrum sun block every day, with an SPF of 15 in winter and 30 in summer.

Sunblock offers the best protection from the sun. Your sunblock should primarily be composed of Zinc oxide and/or Titanium Dioxide, as found in Elta MD®, and ZO Medical® brands. A sunblock should never be used to increase the time spent in sunlight.

Ballantyne area dermatologists

If you have questions regarding sun exposure and its link to aging skin and skin cancer, contact Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte. You can expect high quality and innovative treatment in a caring and professional environment. Dr. Nixon is a board certified Charlotte dermatologist whose dedication, experience, and knowledge will provide the best possible treatment for your skin, hair, and reliable cosmetic dermatology concerns.

Dermatology Specialists of Charlotte also offers medical, reliable cosmetic dermatology, and surgical dermatology; including removal of skin cancer. We provide a full range of cosmetic offerings such as skin tightening, fat reduction, chemical peels, Botox:registered: treatments, microdermabrasion, and more. We provide treatment for both adult and pediatric patients. Call our office today for a skin care evaluation and analysis of your sun damaged skin, or any other skin condition.


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