Contrary to popular belief, sun exposure can be harmful regardless of where you live or who you are. People who live closest to the equator, people whose skin is most prone to freckling, those with a family history of skin cancer, and people with lower concentrations of melanin tend to feel the effects the most but there is no escaping the fact that the sun can and will damage your skin if given the chance.
Sun exposure can happen year round.Wearing sunscreen each and every time you expose yourself to the effects of UV rays matters -- and to reinforce this point, let's take a quick look at some of the most common effects of sun damage on the skin.
Skin cancer. Excessive exposure to the sun is a fact of life for many of us. Anyone who works outdoors and/or lives in a tropical, or subtropical, region is almost guaranteed to spend more than the recommended amount of time in the sunshine. (They are also guaranteed to spend more than the recommended amount of time in peak sun hours, which are loosely defined as the hours between 10AM and 4PM, depending upon your region.) Thankfully, sunscreen can mitigate such issues to a significant degree.
Premature aging. Sun exposure is responsible for many of the skin ailments that we typically associate with aging. (And for good reason, as it is generally impossible to avoid sun exposure over the course of many years, and the effects are accumulative.) Wrinkles, for example, are due in large part to the sun's ability to destroy collagen, a key protein that promotes elasticity of the skin.
Sunspots. Patches of discoloration are another ill effect that is commonly blamed upon aging, though the truth is that sunspots can occur at any age. These dark spots are actually uneven concentrations of melatonin, usually triggered by sun exposure -- and the only relation that they have to age is that older people have had more time to accumulate the effects of sun damage.
Acne. Sun exposure weakens the skin's ability to fight off infections, which can lead to an increased occurrence of acne breakouts such as blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples.