A certain amount of sun exposure is stated to be important to help maintain vitamin D levels but too much sun can put the body at high risk of cellular skin damage. Long-term exposure to the sun without appropriate protection is possibly the largest contributor to the visible signs of ageing. Protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays can reduce the chance of sunburn, brown spots (sun spots) and faster skin ageing, whilst helping to protect against skin cancer.
There are 5 common symptoms of sun damage:
- Dry Skin – Skin that has had too much sun exposure can start to lose moisture and essential oils making the skin appear dry and cracked. Dry skin can also lead to wrinkles and lines.
- Sun Spots – Also known as solar lentigines. Sunspots are brown flat spots that show up on sun-exposed. Any UV rays from the sun will then keep darkening the sunspots and make them appear more noticeable. Freckles are similar to sunspots however freckles occur primarily on the face and in children with fairer complexions.
- Sunburn is skin damage and your body’s response to try to repair it – it’s a short-term warning for potential long-term DNA damage, and is a clear sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged by too much UV radiation. Sunburn doesn’t have to be raw, peeling or blistering. If your skin has gone pink or red in the sun, it’s sunburnt. For people with darker skin, it may just feel irritated, tender or itchy. Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can damage DNA in your skin cells and cause skin cancer.
• In the UK almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely and avoiding sunbeds.
• Getting sunburn just once every 2 years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer. (Cancer Research UK 2019)
- Actinic/Solar Keratosis – These lesions/ areas of skin can develop after repeated long-term exposure to the sun and its UV rays. These are common skin complaints and are a pre-warning sign of skin cancer.
AK’s are commonly found on sites repeatedly exposed to the sun, especially the backs of the hands and the face, most often affecting the ears, nose, cheeks, upper lip, vermilion of the lower lip, temples, forehead and balding scalp.
AK’s present as:
• A flat or thickened papule or plaque
• White or yellow; scaly, warty or horny surface
• Skin coloured, red or pigmented
• Tender or asymptomatic
- Premature Ageing – UV radiation from the sun can cause collagen to break down at an increased rate by penetrating the dermis layer (middle layer) of the skin and causing an abnormal build- up of elastin to which enzymes are then produced that break down the collagen leading to wrinkles and premature ageing.
UV rays account for 80 per cent of skin ageing, including wrinkles and can also lead to pigmentation, reduced skin elasticity and a degradation of skin texture. Skin Cancer is the most common cancer in the UK.
There is no avoiding the fact that skin cancer is on the increase and whilst we are all at risk from skin cancer, there are certain groups that are considered to at greater risk due to their occupation, recreational activity or lifestyle choices. If you have any changing mole, a new lesion that has appeared on your skin or a spot/ lesion that is not healing, we advise you to seek a medical professional for an assessment. For more information, please contact ChromaDerm.
For specific pigmented lesions, ChromaDerm may require an analysis/ diagnosis before proceeding with treatment. Please ask for more details.