Sunlight’s UV rays have proven their potency time and again, especially on your skin. Believe it when you’re told that even dead skin (aka leather) can also be damaged. This makes any leather furniture and the sunlight a bad couple. Do everything to keep your leather stuff of the sun — install sunscreen blinds, move them to a place with enough shade, anything. Here’s why.
UV Rays Doing Their Damage
UV rays are potent enough to be used in triggering cancerous cell activity like melanoma. This means that UV is powerful in causing molecular changes. When leather is exposed to UV light for an extended amount of time, the material’s molecular structure is altered. The most immediate visual effect is fading, which is a far cry from the usual neutral, dark hue of the surface.
It’s also important to know the difference between leather and live skin. Don’t try to compare your sun-caused skin discoloration with leather’s fading. It’s because discoloration of your skin is a result of the production of melanin. This substance causes the skin to become darker and acts as some sort of protective reaction. Leather is essentially treated dead hide. Its fading is due to the dye on its surface reacting poorly to the sun, hence the discoloration.
Some manufacturers may claim that their leather products are fade-resistant. In certain areas, they’re right. Special protective coating can be added to the hide. At times, the pigment on the leather itself can be stain-resistant. But know that these protectants will not withstand UV rays for long enough, and that different leather pigments react to UV rays in their own ways. Darker leather, for instance, is more vulnerable to fading than lighter colored ones.
Leather is already dried out, but UV rays can dry it further. The remaining moisture in the leather will evaporate with constant UV exposure. This moisture is collected from the surrounding environment and sucked into the material through thousands of pores. If you ever notice your leather stuff feeling dry and brittle, it’s because whatever moisture was left in it has already been dried out.