The skin-sun damage connection
Winter is ending and warmer weather is on its way. Don’t you love to feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face? It sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?
In truth, there is another side to sun exposure that is anything but dreamy, and that is photoaging. Photoaging is the premature aging of the skin caused by exposure to the sun. The damage caused by cumulative sun exposure is said to be the cause of most skin aging changes, such as freckles, age spots, spider veins on the face, blotchiness, pre-cancers growths, even skin cancer.
Without adequate sun protection, it takes only a few minutes of sun exposure each day to cause noticeable changes to the surface of the skin. While these changes may not be immediately visible, they can be seen with UV photography before the damage appears. In addition, photoaging may cause structural changes beneath the surface of the skin that result in decreased firmness and elasticity.
The good news is that the signs of photoaging can be prevented, and in some instances, reversed. Follow these simple steps to avoid sun damage and maintain a youthful, vibrant complexion:
- Stay out of the sun between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm, when the sun’s rays are the strongest;
- Wear protective clothing when outdoors during the day. Don a wide-brimmed hat, long sleeved shirt, pants, and sunglasses;
- Apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to all exposed skin;
- Avoid tanning and the use of indoor tanning devices.
If you’re already seeing signs of photoaging on your skin and want to do something about them, speak with your SSDP dermatologist to learn how you can reduce or reverse the effects of sun on your skin. Phone 508.535.3376, or email us from the Contact Us page of the SSDP website to schedule a consultation.
Photo caption: UV photography of the skin of a 64-year-old beach community resident shows a lifetime of chronic sun exposure, including dryness, inelasticity, wrinkles, and heavy mottling. Photos: www.skincarephysicians.com, courtesy of David H. McDaniel, MD.