Sun and UV rays: what are the risks for my skin?

By the 04 September 2014

Modifié le 10 June 2020

We always talk about the risks related to the sun and the need to protect ourselves… But what are we really risking?

Who has never had a sunburn, red skin that can be painful?

Before a sunburn, we tan. It’s thanks to the mélanine our body makes after a few days exposed to UV rays, it’s the pigment that makes the skin darker. Our skin also reacts less evidently to the sun:  it thickens to protect itself against UV rays, attenuating lightly their penetration in the deeper layers of the skin.  They are nonetheless two types of cutaneous injuries that can sometimes transform into sunburns.

If my skin thickens and protects itself from sunburns, why can’t I lay in the sun all day?

Because the chronique exposure to UV rays provokes lesions in cells, fiber tissus and blood vessels of the skin can be damaged. The skin looses elasticity, wrinkles appear, it ages, thickens and dries! It was even shown that some cancers are due to sun exposure: cutaneous cancer of course.


There are two types :

  1. Non melanocytic cutaneous cancer: more frequent on the ears, the face, the neck and fore-arms, currently exposed
  2. Malignant melanoma, less frequent but, that is the principle cause of death in cutaneous cancers.


The risks don’t only concern the skin: the eyes can also suffer from the sun with photokeratites or  photoconjonctivites. These are sunburns of the eye tissue that are very painful but reversible. They don’t provoke permanent damage and don’t cause sight loss. However sun rays, especially UVB’s, are suspected in cataract apparition: when the cristallin’s proteins are detached and form knots, the cristallin looses its transparency, which can cause total sight loss.


How do we protect ourselves ?

  1. Try not to lay in the sun for hours! Especially between 10am and 4pm, when the rays are the strongest, even more so around noon. In any case, protect yourself with sunscreen, SPF 50+ ideally, that protects from UVA’s and UVB’s. Don’t forget to put some on every 2 hours or sooner, if you go swimming or play a sport.
  2. Protect your eyes all day long with sunglasses that protect completely from UVA’s and UVB’s.


And after the sun? After the sun’s agressions, the ocean’s, the sand’s and chlorine… Whole again is here to soothe your skin all night long !! This skincare is very nourishing and soothing and will moisturize and repair your skin, so it can take the sun the next day. A must have for all of your sunny holidays!

Source :

This post is also available in french.


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