Ultraviolet radiation harms the skin. Composed of UVA and UVB rays, it damages the skin and causes premature ageing. The bad news: UVB rays (responsible for burning) only account for about 5% of the UV that comes into contact with the skin. UVA rays make up the rest; accelerating cell ageing, altering DNA and being directly linked to skin cancer. Excess sun also creates an imbalance of melanocytes and causes an overproduction of melanin, and as hand skin is very thin and fragile, the consequences quickly become apparent : UV rays cause wrinkles to appear early on, along with unsightly, brown liver spots.
Whether eating outdoors, soaking up the sun or driving with the window down, you should always apply a sunscreen to the back of your hands. If you're going to be exposed to the sun for a long period of time, make sure you reapply your sunscreen every couple of hours as you would on your face. If you're at the beach, remember to reapply it after swimming. If possible, try to avoid the sun when it's at its brightest between midday and 3pm. Once back home, apply an aftersun lotion, which will repair and deeply nourish the skin; look out for soothing aloe vera, healing vitamin E and softening lanolin in the ingredients list.
Apply a rich moisturiser or cold cream to hands both morning and night. This will help to plump up wrinkles and heal dry skin. Ingredients such as vitamin C and B3 can help to fade any liver spots that you may have. Moisturise your hands each time after washing them, so as to repair the hydrolipidic film. Nowadays, you can pick up specific hand creams designed to hydrate the skin and protect from the sun at the same time, so use one of them while you're out and about. And don't forget your nails and cuticles either; massaging a little cream into each of them will stop them from drying out and becoming brittle. Treat your hands with as much care as you would your face and they'll thank you in the long run!
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