Posts for tag: Skin Protection
The sun emits harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can result in skin damage from freckles and cosmetic blemishes to more serious conditions like cancer. Sun damage doesn’t happen overnight, and the long-term effects of repeated sun exposure may not appear for years. It’s a gradual process brought on by repeated exposure to the sun’s harmful rays, which can have serious consequences later in life. But it's never too late to start protecting your skin from sun damage!
Signs of Sun Damaged Skin
Tans or sunburns are two visible signs of sun damage. A tan reveals that your skin has attempted to protect itself from sun damage by producing melanin, the brown pigment that colors the outer layer of skin. And sunburns indicate damaged skin cell DNA, which increases your risk for skin cancer.
The following signs indicate sun-damaged skin.
- Change in Texture - Skin may become dull and leathery as it is repeatedly exposed to the sun.
- Age Spots - As sun exposure increases so does the body’s production of melanin, which leads to the gradual appearance of blotches in skin tone and brown, black or gray spots on the face, chest, shoulders and hands.
- Wrinkles - As the sun depletes collagen and elastin, the substances that keep skin firm and flexible, skin sags and wrinkles appear which make you look older.
- Red or Inflamed Skin - Symptoms of sunburn such as heat, pain, redness or blisters indicate damage to the epidermis.
The best way to maintain a youthful appearance and avoid skin cancer is to make sun protection a part of daily life. Take extra precautions when outdoors. Always apply sunscreen and wear protective clothing, such as hats and sunglasses. Limit the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight and seek shade when possible. Tanning beds are just as harmful for your skin and should also be avoided.
When to Visit Your Dermatologist
Sun damage should not be overlooked. It may be time to visit your dermatologist about potential sun damage if you:
- Experience a severe sunburn with blistering or other serious side effects, or if you have a history of sunburns
- Notice changes to existing skin growths or develop new or irregular shaped moles or spots, as these could be indications that you have skin cancer
- Have sun spots on your skin, especially if they appear suddenly or are dark in color
- Have a family history of skin cancer
At a minimum, you should visit a dermatologist once a year to have your body inspected for moles or growths. A dermatologist will not only look for signs of cancer, but can also offer cosmetic treatments to reduce the visible signs of sun damage, such as wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.
Although it may only seem like a temporary irritation, a sunburn can cause long-lasting damage to the skin. Skin that is sunburned is red, tender and warm to the touch. Severely sunburned skin may even result in the formation of painful blisters.
Too much sun is especially dangerous for children. One severe sunburn during childhood may double a child’s lifetime risk of melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
It may take up to 24 hours after sun exposure to recognize the severity of your burn. For mild burns, follow these tips to relieve discomfort:
- Avoid the sun. Spending additional time in the sun after you already have a sunburn will only worsen the negative effects and delay the healing process.
- Take a cool shower or bath to relieve any pain or discomfort. Apply a cool compress, like a damp cloth, to the skin to help reduce discomfort.
- Apply moisturizer or cream to soothe the skin. Aloe gel is a common household remedy for sunburns as it helps ease pain and inflammation.
- Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. A sunburn draws fluid to the skin surface and away from the rest of the body.
- Take ant-inflammatory medications. Do this as directed by your doctor to help decrease the inflammation and reduce redness and pain.
- Do not pop any blisters. This will slow the healing process and increase the risk for infection.
In most cases a sunburn does not require medical attention. Call a doctor immediately if there are signs of heat exhaustion, dehydration, fever, severe blistering or other serious reactions.
Fortunately, sunburns are completely preventable. Remember to always wear sunscreen and limit overexposure to the sun by seeking shade and wearing appropriate clothes and accessories that cover the skin, such as hats and sunglasses.
Remember, prevention is better than cure, so remember to take extra precaution to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays!
We all want to achieve a healthy tan. It makes us look and feel better, but that bronzed glow may not be as healthy as you think. A tan is your skin’s reaction to ultraviolet (UV) light. This darkening of the skin cells is the skin's natural defense against further damage from UV radiation.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), nearly 28 million people tan in the United States annually. Of these, 2.3 million are teens. Many people believe the UV rays of tanning beds are harmless, but this is far from true. Tanning beds emit UVA and usually UVB rays as well. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause long-term skin damage and premature aging (i.e. wrinkles, spots and sagging skin), and can contribute to skin cancer.
The AAD states that the risk of melanoma—the deadliest form of skin cancer—is 75% higher among people who used tanning beds in their teens and 20s. Despite the known risks associated with indoor tanning these numbers continue to increase, as do the incidences of cancer.
Visit your dermatologist immediately if you detect any unusual changes in your skin’s appearance, such as:
- A change or an increase in the size or thickness of a mole or spot
- Change in color or texture of the mole
- Irregularity in the border of a mole
Protecting yourself from UV exposure is the best defense against premature aging and skin cancer. In addition to avoiding indoor tanning beds, you should also always wear sunscreen outdoors to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Remember to self-examine your own skin as well as have your skin checked regularly by your dermatologist.
Whether you acquire your tan from the beach or a lamp, it’s not safe and it’s not healthy. If you’re a regular tanner, it may be time to rethink your current stance on the standards of beauty. There are safe alternatives to a bronzed glow without risking your health.