Effects of UV rays on your skin and what you can do about it

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Excessive sun exposure, especially to UV rays, contributes to skin damage and premature aging. UVB causes sunburns, while UVA penetrates deeper, accelerating collagen breakdown. Collagen loss leads to wrinkles and sagging. Sunscreen with SPF50 and PA+++ defends against UV rays, vital even indoors.

UVA penetrates glass, and blue light from devices harms the skin. Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours. Collagen loss, inevitable with age, can be addressed through treatments like Morpheus8 and Sculptra, showing initial results in 4-12 weeks. Results are not permanent, lasting up to a year or more. For collagen treatment options, contact 65-6732 9989 or WhatsApp 65-9152 3582.

Effects of Sunlight on Skin

We have read much about the effects of sunlight on the skin that can result in conditions such as premature aging, skin cancer, and a host of other skin-related conditions. 

The sun’s emission of ultraviolet (UV) light accounts for around 90% of all symptoms of skin conditions. Here are some quick facts about UV radiation.

  • UVB radiation (290 to 320 nm) affects the outermost layer of skin (epidermis) and is the primary cause of sunburns. It is most intense between the hours of 10AM and 2PM. when the sunlight is at its brightest. It is also more intense during the summer months, accounting for around 70 percent of a person’s yearly UVB exposure. Because of is wavelength, UVB does not penetrate glass easily.


  • UVA radiation (320 to 400 nm), by contrast, was once thought to have only a minor effect on the skin. Studies have since shown that UVA is a major contributor to skin damage. UVA penetrates deeper into the skin with an intensity that doesn’t fluctuate as much UVB. And, unlike UVB, UVA is not filtered by glass.

Damaging effects of UV rays

Collagen is an essential protein in the skin, central to the building blocks of healthy-looking skin (along with hyaluronic acid and elastin). Its key function is to give our skin strength and elasticity. Over exposure to UV rays degrades collagen, accelerating the breakdown of this essential protein at a higher rate than normal ageing.

The UV rays does this by penetrating the middle layer of skin (dermis), causing the abnormal build-up of elastin.

When elastins accumulate, enzymes are produced which inadvertently break down collagen and create so-called “solar scars.” Continued exposure only speeds the process, leading to further wrinkling and sagging.

DNA damage from UV rays happen in a matter of seconds. In fact, a published study discovered that the damage from that short exposure can last for hours after the instantaneous reaction.

Unprotected exposure to UV rays also generates free radicals in your skin. Free radicals are unstable molecules that disrupt healthy cells, causing a chain reaction of cell damage.

Protect your skin

The sun is harshest between 10AM to 2PM. If you must be outdoors during this time, use an umbrella or wear a wide-brimmed hat. Layer your UV protection with sunscreen that contains at least SPF50 and PA+++ rating. SPF measures the protection against UVB rays, while the PA value stands for UVA defence.

Apply your sunscreen at least 15 minutes prior leaving the house. That’s how long it takes for your skin to absorb the sunscreen and be protected from UV rays. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours for continuous protection against UV rays.

Should I wear sunscreen indoors?

Yes, you should. The sun’s rays can take a toll on your skin. In the short-term, that can mean contending with a scorching sunburn. But, there can also be long-term consequences lurking within the skin, even if you don’t experience a burn. The sun prematurely ages the skin. Called photoaging, this can lead to skin cancer.

Signs of photodamage begin in the teens to early twenties. Symptoms include the following:
  • Wrinkling
  • Pigmentation changes such as age spots, liver spots (solar lentigines) and freckles
  • Loss of skin tone (decreased elasticity) 
  • Rough, uneven skin texture
  • Broken capillaries (spider veins), usually around the nose and chest
  • Redness and blotchiness

It is important to know that the glass used typically in cars , homes and office windows is only effective in blocking out most of the UVB rays but does not offer protection from most UVA rays. 

UVA rays are known to cause skin cell aging and to be the cause of wrinkles , sunspots and other signs of aging associated with the breakdown of collagen and elastin.

UVB rays on the other hand are stronger and can directly damage the DNA of skin cells leading to the formation of sunburns and skin cancers. So even if you are indoors if you are close to a window you still run the risk of exposure to UVA rays and potential skin damage .
Then there is the issue of blue light emitted from our digital devices like smartphones, tablets and TV which are also harmful to the skin. Blue light can increase the melanin production or pigmentation in the skin as well as causing inflammation leading to premature skin aging .
Because of the recent pandemic situation whereby working from home is encouraged such exposure to both UVA and blue light becomes more of an issue. Therefore it is recommended to apply sunscreen indoors as the time we now spend indoors is much longer.
As most sunscreens are expected to last 4-6 hours on dry skin, it is advisable to reapply them even when indoors now as the time spent indoors now is considerably longer. If you are diligent it is good to reapply every 2-4 hours.
Although we are wearing face masks it must be emphasised that the majority of these face masks do not offer UV protection. Hence it is still advisable to apply sunscreens under our mask .In view of our hot and humid climate I would recommend a lightweight sunscreen of at least SPF 30 to minimise the discomfort associated with mask wearing.

Can loss of collagen be restored?

Collagen levels decrease due to ageing and exposure to UV rays. Unfortunately, there’s no way to totally prevent loss of collagen. The good news is that there are effective medical aesthetic treatments that can rebuild or restore collagen. From microneedling treatments such as Morpheus8 to injectable bio-stimulator made of poly-L-lactic (PLLA) such as Sculptra.

Initial results from collagen restoration treatments are usually visible immediately. However, new collagen growth can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to complete.

Keep in mind that while certain procedures can be very effective at restoring and replacing collagen, these results aren’t permanent. Depending on the collagen rebuilding procedure and areas treated, results can last a year or longer.

If you are looking for treatment options to rebuild and restore collagen, come have a chat with us. Call 65-6732 9989 or WhatsApp 65-9152 3582.



  1. The impact of ultraviolet radiation on skin photoaging — review of in vitro studies
  2. VeryWellHealth

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