Although we want to enjoy the sun as much as possible, it is imperative that we protect our skin from harmful UV rays. Learn about the dos and don’t about suncare.

When the summer months come along, many of us want to go outside and get a tan and some vitamin D! While this is great, we should talk about summer skincare and sun protection. It’s necessary to take care of your skin and protect our skin from harmful UV rays.

Sun Damage

Before we start explaining why protecting our skin from the sun is crucial to our health, it is important that you understand that there are varying types of sun damage that can happen to our skin at any given time. 

Even in the winter months, there are still UV rays that come from the sun, but they are not as strong as they are in July and August. There are three major types of sun damage that can happen. 


A sunburn is a short term acute (intense) type of sun damage that happens when a person is out in the sun for too long without the proper protection used on their skin. The short term effects of sunburn are usually treated with aftercare products such as aloe vera or afterburn, but sunburns, depending on how bad it is, can be extremely painful. Sunburns can also cause the skin to peel and extract skin of all of its moisture. Although sunburns are short term skin issues, the permanent damage caused below the surface of the skin can show up later such as photodamage and photoaging.


Photoaging is caused by long term unprotected sun exposure. Photoaging can be avoided by taking proper precautions before going out in the sun like applying sunscreen or wearing hats. The effects of photoaging are signs of aging such as wrinkles, pigment changing, leather-like skin texture, red skin complexion, permanent redness, and broken blood vessels. 

Tanned skin

A tan occurs when the skin is darkened from sun exposure. Tanning happens as a protective measure activated by the body caused by an autoimmune mechanism in the skin. When the skin darkens, this is a way that your body is reacting to UV exposure to try and protect the skin. Tanning is NOT safe and should be avoided. When the skin darkens, this means that damage is being done to your DNA from overexposure to the sun. Over time, tanning can cause wrinkles, leather-like skin texture, broken blood vessels, and even skin cancer. It has been proven that using tanning beds or tanning for long periods of time before the age of 35 can increase the risk of getting melanoma by 75 percent.

UV Rays

There are actually two different types of UV rays: UVA and UVB.

UVA Rays

These types of rays are able to go deep into the skin, and can cause damage to collagen, elastin, blood vessels and can cause wrinkles over time. These types of rays are what cause photoaging and are directly linked to the threat or cause of melanoma and other skin cancers. UVA rays are so intense that they penetrate through glass and clouds throughout the entire day. UVA rays are why wearing sunscreen when outside, is so important even in the winter months. 

UVB Rays

These rays cause superficial skin damage such as tans or sunburns and are only on the surface of the skin. Although the damage is visible, these are short term effects caused by overexposure to the sun but can have long-lasting effects like UVA rays. The intensity of UVB rays vary from season to season and weather conditions, but they only account for 5 percent of the sun’s rays. 

How to protect yourself

There are so many measures that you can take in order to protect yourself from UV rays and radiation which can cause long term health concerns. We have aggregated a list of precautions that should help!

Broad-spectrum sunscreen:

Wearing sunscreen is the most effective and best way to protect your skin from the sun. The recommended minimum SPF degree is 30, and anything above that will ensure that you are properly protected from the sun. SPF is defined as the amount of time before UVB rays burn the skin. The higher the amount of SPF, the more UVB rays are blocked. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects the skin from both UVA and UVB rays, so it is important that you look into purchasing one of these so that your skin is completely and totally protected from the sun. You should also protect your lips from the sun by using broad-spectrum lip balm or applying sunscreen directly to the lips.

Wear protective clothing:

Wearing hats or sunglasses in the sun is a crucial step you should take in the direction of avoiding sun damage. Wearing a hat in the sun provides instant shade to your face and decreases the risk of sun damage incredibly. Also, it is important to note that with every inch of brim on your hat, your chances of getting skin cancer decrease by 10 percent! Wearing sunglasses in the sun not only look great, but they protect your eyes more than you could imagine. Sun damage to eyes can cause cataracts (clouding in the eyes) and loss of sight, which is why wearing sunglasses is so important if you want to protect yourself. 

Stay away from tanning beds:

Although you may want to achieve beautiful bronze skin, especially in the warmer months, it is so important to know the negative effects of using tanning beds. Due to the fact that tanning beds use artificial light in order to achieve a tan, the light used is more intense and can cause more damage than natural sunlight. Tanning beds are the leading cause of melanoma (skin cancer) and can have serious long term effects. There are some safer alternatives to achieving a natural glow to your skin like spray tanning. Finding a great spray tan technician will ensure that you have beautiful skin without the health risks involved with tanning in the sun or tanning beds.

At Enlighten Laser, we help those that need to get rid of sunspots, age spots, and wrinkles that are often caused by overexposure to the sun. Some treatments you may want to look into what we offer at Enlighten to fix these skin imperfections are:

To book either of the above treatments to fix skin problems caused by sun exposure, visit our online booking form and get a free consultation. 

We have various locations to serve you including, Bedford or Dartmouth in Nova Scotia, and Calgary or Airdrie in Alberta.