Keep your skin safe this summer with some tips from our experts at Park Avenue Esthetics!

With the weather heating up, it’s time for some great beach and pool days, hiking, sports, cookouts, and just spending time in the great outdoors. We know you’ve prepared everything for that awesome barbecue, but have you prepared your skin for the summer sun?

Now, we all know it’s important to wear sunscreen because it prevents sun burn, but there is so much more to it than that. Why is the sun bad for our skin? Do darker people not need to worry about its damaging effects? And what kind of sunscreen is best for my skin type? These are all questions we will answer in today’s blog post on keeping your skin safe this summer.

So, our first question: why is the sun bad for our skin? Isn’t it just like normal light? Well, the answer lies in the nature of light itself. Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation, which propagates itself as waves. Here is the important bit: Each wave has a specific length, and this length determines the wave’s properties. For example, the visible light we see has a wavelength of 380 to 740 nanometers (that’s 1 billionth of a meter), while infrared light (not visible) has longer wavelengths and ultraviolet (UV, also not visible) light has shorter wavelengths. The shorter the wavelength, the higher its energy. Visible light doesn’t cause damage to the skin because its energy isn’t high enough, but once the wavelength gets short enough to be UV light, it’s energy is high enough to damage the skin. Our light bulbs don’t emit UV light, but you know what does? The sun!

UV light causes damage to DNA in our skin, causing mutations that need to be repaired. These repairs are not always 100% perfect, and mutated DNA puts you at risk for melanoma, a very serious form of cancer. It also degrades collagen, an essential protein responsible for the tightness and firmness of our skin. By destroying collagen, the sun greatly accelerates the aging process. It destroys the structure and suppleness of our skin, and while it can heal, it has a hard time doing so. Unfortunately, the damage is often too much for the skin to repair. This is where sunscreen comes in. Sunscreen acts as a physical block for UV rays, protecting your skin from its damaging effects. And while it is true that melanin (the naturally produced pigment of the skin) has the same effect, meaning dark people are better protected from the sun, they still need to wear sunscreen! UV rays can still penetrate dark skin, which is why its important to wear sunscreen regardless of your skin tone. Obagi®, the skin care brand we have partnered with, takes has made it their mission to make skin care accessible for everyone with their #SKINCLUSION initiative. They make sunscreens for all sorts of skin tones, making them inclusive for everyone. We believe in this mission too, and that’s why we carry Obagi® products in our office.

Now we know why sunscreen is so essential for any outdoor activity, so you can get on out there and experience summer the way it was meant to be: burn and wrinkle free!