2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 18:44
Your skin plays a vital role in maintaining your he alth. As exceptional as it is, however, the skin is still vulnerable to the sun's rays and must be protected.
Little Known Fact: What is the largest organ in the human body? You may not have thought of it that way, but skin is an organ, just like the heart and liver. Moreover, the skin is by far the largest organ in the human body. It is the first barrier against dehydration, bacterial infection and pollutants of all kinds. It is soft to the touch while being flexible, resistant, water-repellent and can, to a certain extent, rejuvenate.
The sun can damage the skin in several ways:
Most of us have had a sunburn at some point in our lives. We perceive it as a temporary phenomenon: the skin reddens, it is painful for a few days, the skin peels, then everything is settled. Unfortunately, sunburn causes DNA damage to the skin, the effects of which are cumulative over the years. The more sunburns we have, the more damage we suffer. This DNA damage can lead to skin cancer.
This is the premature aging of the skin caused by exposure to UVA and UVB rays. It is characterized by freckles, wrinkles, rough skin and other damage which we attempt to correct at great expense. We'll cover that later, but many of the signs we attribute to normal aging are actually accelerated changes brought on by sun exposure.
Commonly known as “pregnancy mask”, melasma can appear in women who use oral contraceptives, or even spontaneously. Men can also be affected. Irregular, brown pigmented spots on the cheeks, upper lip and forehead. Although it is possible to eliminate them with lasers or to discolor them (with difficulty) using creams, the skin remains hypersensitive to the sun and melasma can reappear with the slightest exposure. People with this condition should use daily sunscreen.
Many people don't realize that skin cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in North America. Protection from the sun is one of the best ways to prevent this disease. To learn more about the different skin cancers and their characteristics, please visit the Canadian Dermatology Association website.
Different skin types
In 1975, Dr. Thomas Fitzpatrick, a dermatologist at Harvard Medical School, was the first to establish a classification of skin types and their tolerance to the sun. This rating has since changed, but it can help you determine the best way to protect yourself and your family from the sun.
|Skin Type||Typical Features||Tan type|
|1||Pale white skin, blue/hazel eyes, blonde/red hair||Skin always burns, doesn't tan|
|2||Light Skin, Blue Eyes||Skin burns easily, tans very little|
|3||Medium white skin||Skin that tans after a first sunburn|
|4||Beige or slightly tanned skin||Skin burns very little, tans easily|
|5||Brown skin||Skin that rarely burns, tans easily and becomes dark|
|6||Brown or black skin||Skin that never burns, tans and always turns dark|
This ranking is a guide. Most Caucasians are Types 1 or 2, while most African Canadians are Types 5 or 6, and the variability from person to person is obviously very large. Asians and East Asians can have several types, depending on theirethnic background, and thanks to our wonderful multi-ethnicity, some people can probably have two skin types. Be vigilant and protect yourself by taking into account the lowest skin type you belong to.
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