Although most people love the warmth and light of the sun, too much sun exposure can significantly damage human skin. The sun’s heat dries out areas of unprotected skin and depletes the skin’s supply of natural lubricating oils. In addition, the sun ultraviolet radiation can cause burning and long-term changes in the skin’s structure.The most common types of sun damage to the skin are:
Dry skin — Sun-exposed skin can gradually lose moisture and essential oils, making it appear dry, flaky and prematurely wrinkled, even in younger people.
Sunburn — Sunburn is the common name for the skin injury that appears immediately after the skin is exposed to ultraviolet radiation. Mild sunburn causes only painful reddening of the skin, but more severe cases can produce tiny fluid-filled bumps or larger blisters
Actinic keratosis — This is a tiny bump that feels like sandpaper or a small, scaly patch of sun damaged skin that has a pink, red, yellow or brownish tint. Unlike suntan markings or sunburns, an actinic keratosis does not usually go away unless is frozen, chemically treated or removed by a doctor. An actinic keratosis develops in areas of skin that have undergone repeated or long term exposure to the sun ultraviolet light, and it is a warning sign of increased risk of skin cancer. About 10% -15% of actinic keratoses eventually change into squamous cell cancers of the skin.
How to protect yourself from Sunburning
1. Use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of at least 15.
2. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside that your skin has time to absorb it.
3. Be generous in application of sunscreen. An ounce of sunscreen should cover the face, neck, arms and legs of the average adult.
4. Wear protective clothing, like hats, sunglasses, long-sleeved shirts and pants
5. Seek shade when possible, especially during the hours of 10:00 am to 4:00 pm when the sun’s rays are strongest.
6. Avoid tanning bed as ultraviolet light can cause skin cancer and wrinkling.
7. Protect children by reapplying sunscreen often with an SPF at least 15, having them play in the shade and wear protective clothing.
8. Babies under the age of 6 months should never be in direct sunlight and should always wear a hat and clothing that protects them from ultraviolet ray.
9. Adults should perform regular self exams.
10. Talk to your dermatolog and have a complete body scan once a year.