We’ve been lucky with a warm summer and lots of sunshine this year. Being exposed to natural sunlight has great benefits to the body including boosting serotonin levels to make you feel happier and more energetic, boosting your immune system and helping your body produce much needed Vitamin D.
If you are spending an extended period of time outside, such as over an hour at a time, it is vital to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. You should always rely on at least one or a combination of the following when exposed to the sun for a long period of time: sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, pants, long sleeves and an umbrella. Ignoring proper sun care for your skin can result in some very dangerous and frightening results for your health and appearance.
Patchy Skin, Dark Spots and Melasma
Individuals with fair skin are especially susceptible to getting dark patches and bumps from sunlight. In most instances, they’re not dangerous, but you should have a doctor examine them just in case.
If you are 40 and over, you should be aware that the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause some unsightly liver spots, which are black or brown. They aren’t painful, but you should bring it to the attention of your family physician or dermatologist to keep monitor them for any irregular growth.
A similar sun-related issue is melasma, a condition that leads to dark patches on the face, neck or forearms. Women tend to experience melasma more often than men, with hormones as the contributing factor of this problem sometimes.
Wrinkles and Dryness
Clinical studies show that UV rays are responsible for approximately 80% of the wrinkles on a person’s face. Within the same study of 300 women, researchers concluded that even people who spend relatively little time in the sun suffer from sun-induced skin aging
Similarly, UV light will make your skin dryer, deepening wrinkles and wearing your skin out.
Solar Elastosis and Solar Keratosis
Solar elastosis patients are often 40 and over and have spent a lot of time in the sun over the years, working outside or enjoy sunbathing frequently. Individuals with fair skin are particularly at risk for solar elastosis.
If you have solar elastosis due to UV damage, you may experience a range of skin irregularities, including wrinkles, clogged pores and areas of the skin that are thick and yellow.
For its part, solar keratosis occurs when UV light produces actinic keratoses (AKs), which are precancerous lesions that a dermatologist must treat. Without proper medical care, a person could develop squamous cell carcinoma, a form of skin cancer.
The rays of the sun can also bring about lentigo maligna, an early stage of melanoma in which cancer cells stay in the epidermis, the skin’s outer layer. If left unchecked, those cancerous cells will travel down into the dermis. Men with light skin in their 60s or older face the highest risk of lentigo maligna.
Post-Sun Damage Treatment
Not surprisingly, the best way to avoid sun damage is by avoiding pro-longed periods of time in the sun and appropriately guarding your skin from sun when exposed with sunscreen, umbrellas and light attire. Fortunately, some effects of sun damage can be repaired cosmetically through Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) for pigment reduction, Photodyamic Therapy (PDT) and chemical peels for a quick but slightly more costly procedure.
Safer alternatives for the skin include high quality topical antioxidant treatments enriched with Vitamin A and natural AHAs. Vitamin-based serums like Monodermà C, which targets skin repair due to sun damage and can be combined with other vitamin serums, moisturizers and sunscreen to improve the overall complexion of your skin.