While spending short periods of time in the sun can supply your body with essential nutrients like vitamin D, prolonged sun exposure can negatively and severely affect the health and appearance of your skin. Whether it results in cosmetic flaws or skin cancer, sun damage can accelerate aging, break down cell structures and even lead to deadly diseases. For more information about the effects of sun exposure and how to protect your skin from damage, talk to your dermatologist and learn more below.
The skin’s elastin fibers and collagen cells are responsible for maintaining the elasticity and firmness that characterize youthful, healthy skin. Over time, exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays causes these structures to break down in a process known as elastosis. This, in turn, affects your skin’s ability to regenerate cells and can lead to skin that sags, stretches and brusies more easily. Overexposure to the sun can also cause fine lines, wrinkles and age spots to develop, and contributes to an aged appearance through changes in skin texture and conditions like spider veins.
As explained by the Skin Cancer Foundation, UVA and UVB radiation damages your skin’s cellular DNA, contributing many of the gene mutations responsible for skin cancer. In fact, UV radiation is considered to be the main cause of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, and also plays a major role in the development of the deadliest form of skin cancer, melanoma. Your dermatologist may recommend a number of tips for preventing skin cancer including:
- Avoiding direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Applying sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside and reapplying every two hours. Be sure to use sunscreen that provides for both UVA and UVB protection.
- Wearing a hat and long-sleeved clothing.
- Visiting your dermatologist for annual examinations.
For more information about protecting your skin from sun damage and premature aging, contact Advanced Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery. To locate an office or dermatologist near you, please visit Advanced Dermatology online or call us today at (866) 400-3376.