Did you know that spending time in the sun is good for you? Sun rays on our skin help our body produce more vitamin D, which is important for our wellbeing. Still, too much of a good thing can be bad, and the same goes for spending time in the sun. Those lovely rays can do a lot of damage to our skin if we don’t use products with SPF, and even if we are sure that we’re safe from harmful UV rays, our skin can still be in danger. Here is how you can easily spot signs of sun damage on your skin and the skin of your family members.
Sunburns are the most common sign of sun damage. Even though they might not last more than a couple of days and cause no more problems than a mild itch, they can also be dangerous. If you often get sunburns, you increase your chances of having severe skin problems later on in life. With mild sunburns, your skin turns red and hurts when you touch it, and if this happens, you need to keep it hydrated with lotions and oils (just make sure you don’t use heavily perfumed products, as some of these chemicals can further irritate your damaged skin). On the other hand, if you notice blisters on your skin or you have a very high fever for longer than two days, you may have heavy sunburn.
The heat of the sun can keep you warm, and its rays can make you happier, but in the long run, the sun’s heat will dry out your skin and cause more skin problems. Still, the most prominent sign of prolonged skin exposure and one of the side-effects of dry skin are prominent wrinkles. The heat will dry out any skin that you haven’t covered with SPF, and it will also deplete its supply of natural lubricating oils. Most commonly, people start noticing fine wrinkles on their face, usually around their eyes (so-called laugh lines and crow’s feet). They will appear sooner or later but will be more prominent if you spend a lot of time in the sun. You can try hyaluronic acid and other dermal fillers to deal with these fine lines on your face.
Even though some might mistake them for freckles, these spots are usually much larger (sometimes they can be as big as a quarter). The problem is that they only get darker and show up in greater numbers as we age. Fortunately, you can slow the process down and even reverse it for a while. There are different treatments for brown spots that you can try, and people usually combine two or three methods for the best results. You can use hydrogen peroxide and topical creams and serums, but you can also try laser. The most important thing is to act as soon as you spot them, because the small spot you notice in your 30s will likely turn brown and then dark brown when you reach 40s and 50s.
If you notice that you have scaly and rough patches of skin on your body, it might be a sign of actinic keratoses. They can also appear in the form of raised bumps that look just like warts or even horns. These most commonly appear on a person’s face and neck, but they can also show up on the scalp, arms, hands, and even ears. They can also disappear as suddenly as they appear, or they can itch. If you notice them, see if they change in any way, because in up to 10% of cases, these can turn into skin cancer.
Chloasma or melasma is an abnormal patch of darkened skin that usually occurs on a person’s face. The skin discoloration can be seen on a person’s forehead and cheeks, or their nose, upper lip, and chin. Most commonly, melasma is symmetrical along both sides of the face and uniform in color, and it is heavily influenced by hormonal shifts (pregnancy included). If you have melasma, you should avoid staying in the sun for too long, and you should always use sunscreen and protect your face with wide-brimmed hats as well as parasols since additional UV exposure will likely cause your condition to worsen.
Even though a lot of people love spending time outside enjoying the warmth and light of the sun, it’s still necessary to be careful when going outside. Make sure your skin is protected when you’re spending time outside, because the sun’s heat will dry it out. You must remember that too much sun exposure will certainly and significantly damage your skin, especially if you’re not using sunscreen.