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A Tan Fades, Wrinkles Don't - Be Sun Savvy This Summer

09/07/2014 15:26 BST | Updated 07/09/2014 10:59 BST

Sun worshipping is a pastime looked forward to by all when summertime rolls around. In a quest for brown skin and the desire to return to work with a golden sun kissed glow, many of us can get carried away sunbathing in intense midday sunshine. But did you know that overexposure to the sun causes serious irreparable damage to your skin?

This year I experienced the pain of sun burn for the first time (twice actually), and on both occasions I was wearing sun cream. I was burnt firstly around the edges of my bikini top, and a few weeks later on one side of my neck whilst I was napping on a boat in the pacific ocean. Statistics show that many people that experience sun burn do so because they fell asleep in intense midday sun. The pain, discomfort and sleepless nights I had thanks to sun burn lead me to do a bit more research into UV rays and their effects on human health. And what I learnt wasn't pretty.

1. The damage is irreversible

The overall risk of skin cancer and skin damage is directly related to the number of sunburns you experience throughout your lifetime. So every time you get sunburn you are clocking up the quota leading towards serious damage. - Things like aftersun lotion and other remedies can help to soothe the pain, but can never restore your skin back 100% to its pre-sunburn state.

2. Skin Cancer

Skin cancer can affect people across all ages, genders, ethnicities and skin types. However melanoma is the most common cancer affecting women aged 25-29. It may be argued that this is primarily from heavy sunbathing sessions in adolescent years, and the pressure to have tanned skin projected and reinforced by the media and majority of celebrities. Skin cancer is the most dangerous and very real side effect of over-exposure to the suns harmful rays, and in this case prevention is not better than a cure, it is the only cure.

3. Premature Aging and Loss of Elasticity in the skin

So if the cancer, and skin damage weren't enough to send you running inside, the visible ageing caused by sunbathing is something most people would rather avoid. The sun's rays accelerate the skins age in the form of dryness, wrinkles, mottled pigmentation and that rubbery worn look we've all seen. Face and neck are top of the victim list here, with skin on the cheeks and mouth being the first to sag.

So as the sun comes out "to play" and we all flock to the parks, beaches and holiday destinations of choice, please remember that that friendly warm sunshine you are lying in may have dangerous consequences if you do not handle it with caution.

Despite the potential harm, it must not be forgotten that the sun also has many healing benefits when enjoyed in moderation- including providing us vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for:

- Bone health

- Protecting against dementia

- Losing excessive fat

- Strengthening teeth

We should not fear the sun but rather change the way we approach it. To stay protected this summer avoid intense sunshine, which is most harsh from 11am-3pm. Sun exposure must be done slowly i.e. don't go and sunbathe for five hours straight on day one of your holiday. Tolerance to the sun can actually build up over time. When handled in the correct way the sun's feel-good endorphins can be enjoyed by all.

This article first appeared on www.romygrace.com