The UV Index Trend That Is Damaging Your Skin

The UV Index Trend That Is Damaging Your Skin

Just take a minute to flip through TikTok and you'll see hundreds, if not thousands of people checking the UV Index and planning their tanning sessions around it.  Many of these people have hundreds of thousands of followers and they are espousing the glorious benefit of heading out when the UV Index is extremely high so you can get a golden tan.  

This trend is dangerous on so many levels, but for our purposes we will focus on the dangers this trend presents to your skin.  First of all, it is important to understand the UV Index which many of these people on social media are sharing as the perfect way to get the perfect tan.  The UV Index looks like this:

0-2: Low, minimal danger

3-5: Moderate, low risk of harm

6-7: High, moderate risk of harm

8-10: Very high, high risk of harm

11+: Extreme, very high risk of harm

You may notice one thing right off the bat when looking at this index, the second level (3-5) is already mentioning harm to your skin.  This is staggering.  Many of the people who are talking about the UV Index are recommending going tanning when the index is in the 8-10 range which is listed as very high and a high risk of harm.  Encouraging people to go tanning when the UV Index is at this high level can be dangerous.  Here's why:

While sun exposure can lead to a  golden tan, it also carries many harmful risks to you and your skin.  These risks are not just cosmetic either, they can actually be deadly if you're not careful.  Sun exposure, when you are not taking it seriously can cause the following issues;

1.) Skin cancer.  While stepping out into a UV Index of 8-10 may not immediately lead to skin cancer, continued and prolonged exposure at these levels most certainly can.  The UV rays from the sun will cause damage to the DNA of your skin cells which over time leads to a mutation and the development of skin cancer.  While this cannot be predicted, it can be prevented by using a sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF and staying covered up when the UV Index is at very high levels.

2.) Premature aging.  No level of skincare routine can be a match for continued and prolonged exposure to the sun.  Even if you have the best skincare routine all figured out, when you head out into the extreme exposure of the high end of the UV Index you are putting yourself at grave danger of having your skin permanently damaged.  The sun breaks down the collagen and elastin in your skin which can leave it wrinkled and leathery.  When you experience this and let it happen continuously over time you could be setting yourself up for long-term skin issues that may not be reversible.

3.) Sunburn.  One of the most immediate dangers of being in the sun when the UV Index is at high or extreme levels is a sunburn.  Not only is this dangerous for your skin, it is also the most visible of the three issues you may experience from continued exposure.  This painful inflammation in your skin is caused directly by UV damage.  Not only can it be difficult to look at, it can also cause serious pain and lead to significant harm if your skin gets to the point where it is blistering.

While it may be tempting to take skincare advice from TikTok and Instagram, it is best to have a clear understanding of what you are trying to do and talk to a medical provider about the best way to get yourself there.  It may not be the sexiest thing to go in and talk to your doctor about your skincare goals, but it is certainly better then trusting armchair experts who have about the same amount of experience as you do when talking about skincare.

The TikTok trend about UV Index and charting it and going out when it is at it's highest is dangerous and could lead to serious repercussions for your skin.  If you're heading out into the Summer heat you will want to make sure you are regularly using a sunscreen that is 30SPF or higher and is being reapplied every few hours to keep your skin safe from the dangerous UV rays that the sun gives off.  

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