Don’t Fry Day marks the annual gateway to the sun damage season here in the Northern Hemisphere. Don't Fry Day is designated by the American Cancer Society as the Friday before the Memorial Day Weekend. It makes sense. Use it as a reminder to NOT get additive sun damage on your skin this year!
Get your plan for safe outdoor fun set now and have nicer skin for the rest of your life. If you are a parent of kids, help them have skin that is free of sun damage for their lifetime by getting your family's sun protection gear and plan set now. - California Dermatologist and Skin Wellness Expert Dr. Cynthia Bailey
Don't Fry Day goes hand-in-hand with Skin Cancer Awareness Month, which is always the month of May. Together, these days bring home the connection between summer activities, sun damage and skin cancer. The idea is not to be a 'Debbie-Downer' to your summer. It's to create mindfulness and incentive for preparation. You already know about the link between skin cancer and sun exposure. I want to emphasize the other vaguer reasons that you want to avoid sun damage this year.
Other than skin cancer, why is sun bad for your skin?
- 80-90% of skin wrinkling and thinning is due to sun. Yep, it's not aging that wrinkles, crinkles and leads to crepey skin. Nope, it's UV damage. It's why those things don't happen to your tummy or buttocks skin.
- Skin thinning and fragility due to sun exposure leads to skin that tears and bruises easily. The only way to treat this is to prevent it before it happens.
- Sun spots (aka liver spots or solar lentigines) and age barnacles (seborrheic keratosis) are non-cancerous growths that are triggered by sun exposure. Most people would like to avoid these and get rid of them once they happen. You can always have more so it's best to just prevent them.
- Sallow skin tone due to damaged skin elastin is caused by sun damage.
- "Broken capillaries" that show through the skin are also caused by sun damage. Have you seen them on your cheeks, ears or nose?
- Mottled discoloration on the sides of your neck, temples or V of your chest is due to chronic sun damage.
- UV exposure will trigger skin conditions such as rosacea. If you have rosacea, you know what that means.
- Skin sun damage is cumulative and additive so each year’s exposure matters to the health and structure of your skin.
The signs of sun damage on skin is called “photoaging”.
As stated by the authors of a medical review article on sun damaged skin, you see the changes of photoaging on your skin as a
“prominent cutaneous transformation that is clinically characterized by fine and coarse wrinkles, blotchy dyspigmentation, telangiectasia, sallowness, increased fragility, and rough skin texture.”
Photoaging of skin is hard to reverse. It happens even from daily incidental UV skin exposure. This exposure starts a cascade of reactions in your skin that break down collagen, elastin and other skin structures. The mechanism can run on indefinitely. The review article authors go on to state,
“Cumulative exposure to the sun results in continuous degradation (of skin structure).”
So, don’t let this happen to your skin this year.
Get your sun protection gear set and use it. My infographic can help. 4 simple steps to dermatologist-approved sun protection:
- Use UPF 50 or other sun protective clothing to minimize exposed skin. Then protect exposed skin as follows:
- Applying broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply as directed.
- Shading exposed skin with hats, a parasol and being in the shade (who are those people in the direct sun without hats??).
- Knowing how intense the UV exposure is so that you maintain adequate sun protection the entire time your skin is UV exposed.
Use the best antioxidants to help your skin fight sun damage.
The best data for antioxidant protection from free radical induced UV damage comes from green tea EGCG antioxidants. This is why my Green Tea Antioxidant Therapy is a skin product I never let myself run out of. I live in sunny California and I love being outdoors. I apply it daily under sunscreen for extra help fighting ANY sun damage. It is made with uniquely high concentration of the right purified active green tea antioxidants. You can't make this at home nor does any other product compare. Really!
Retinol and retinoids such as Retin A can also help reverse sun damage because they can turn off the degradative cascade of reactions that break down skin structure after UV exposure. Use retinoids at bedtime. I apply my Retinol Night Cream or Retin A every night because retinoids are that important to fighting sun damaged skin.
If you want more dermatologist's information on sun protection, the consequences of sun burns and motivation to share with those in your life that doubt the negative consequences of sun exposure on skin, click here for my free eBook on Sunburns and Sun Damage.
It’s FREE because I want the message widely available. Every person I’ve helped protect from sun damage and skin cancer is a success for me – it’s a life mission for me and I’m passionate about it. I want you prepared. I’m passionate about protecting your skin from sun damage. Knowledge and the right tools are essential.
This is the time of year to stock up on really good Sunscreens and Sun Protection Products. It's right time of year and it’s Don’t Fry Day for a reason – don’t! Let me help with trusted sunscreens and shade creating tools.
Pittayapruek P, Meephansan J, Prapapan O, Komine M, Ohtsuki M. Role of Matrix Metalloproteinases in Photoaging and Photocarcinogenesis. Int J Mol Sci. 2016;17(6):868. Published 2016 Jun 2. doi:10.3390/ijms17060868