Sun damage, also identified as photo damage, refers to how the sun alters the look and feel of the skin. Sun damage
is a form of extrinsic aging, which is early aging that is caused by the surroundings. Extrinsic aging is collective, means that effects
exacerbate with repeated, unprotected contact to the sun.
What Causes Sun Damage?
Sun damage is caused by frequent exposure to damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV is an undetectable form of radiation
emitted by the sun. There are two types of UV rays, UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and are the major source of early
aging and skin cancer. UVB rays primarily access the surface of the skin and are the key source of sunburns.
How Often Am I Exposed To Harmful UV Rays?
Whether you are walking to your car, driving to work, or simply sitting near a window, you are exposed to harmful
UV rays. This type of daily contact is known as secondary UV exposure.
Secondary exposure occurs where you least expect it. It can occur in the shade, on cloudy days, even while you are
indoors. It is likely that the usual individual is exposed to more than 10 hours of indoor UV rays every week. Add to that over 7 hours
of outdoor UV rays a week and without a suitable shield, your weekly UV-radiation exposure might total nearly 20 hours. That's like spending
the weekend at the beach without wearing sunscreen.
Increasing The Sun's Damaging Effects
We are all vulnerable to the harmful effects of the sun. However, some people may be more at risk than others.
People that have sustained burns are definitely in one of the top groups of individuals that are at higher risk. Below you will see a
list of what else can put you in a high risk bracket.
1. Where you live: If you live closer to the equator, the sun is directly overheard and the
UV rays are stronger. Anyone who lives in the mountain regions, should look out. Studies suggest that there is roughly an 8% to 10% increase
in UV intensity for each 1,000 feet of increased altitude.
2. How Do You Live: Do you enjoy outdoor activities? Remember, sun damage accumulates over
time-the more you are exposed, the more damaged your skin becomes. Apply sun protection every time you venture out.
3. Your Medications: Certain medications, such as antibiotics, cause heightened sensitivity to
the sun (photosensitivity. The results are sun rashes and sunburns. Ask your doctor if any of your medications can cause photosensitivity.
4. Genetics: Are you fair skinned with light hair (red or blond)
and freckles? If yes, you are at a high risk of developing sun damage and skin cancer. If you have a family history of skin cancer, take
extra safety measures and use daily sun protection.
5. Cosmetic Procedures: Cosmetic procedures can intensify your sensitivity to the sun. If you
have undergone, or are considering microdermabraision, laser resurfacing, or a chemical peel, talk to your dermatologist about how to
protect your skin.
Is Sun Damage Dangerous?
The answer is yes. In addition to premature aging of the skin, sun damage also increases your risk of skin cancer.
The three common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Melanoma is the most dangerous of all types of skin cancer. This type of cancer is
almost always curable when treated early. Melanoma usually starts in or near a mole or other dark spot on your skin. A normal mole is
symmetrical in shape, has even coloration and border. An abnormal mole is asymmetrical in shape. It has shades of various colors. Those
colors are brown, black, tan, white, blue, and red.
Sun Damage Prevention
1. Protect Yourself: Protect yourself against daily sun damage by applying sun protection prior
to every time you are going to be in direct or indirect contact with the sun. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends choosing a
product with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. It should give broad-spectrum UVA and UVB treatment. Daily sun defense with a
moisturizer is the best selection for defending against incidental UV exposure.
Sun protectant ought to be applied to the face, ears, lips, and neck. Do not forget to protect your
scalp if you have bald spots or your hair is thinning. Put the protectant on 20 minutes before you will be in UV contact. For extended
or intentional exposure when you are working, exercising, or relaxing outdoors, sun protectant should be reapplied every 2 to 3 hours.
2. Take Cover: In order to minimize sun exposure, you should search for shade on every possible
occasion. Firmly woven, loose-fitting, full-length clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat can offer additional protection. To help avoid damage
to your eyes, sunglasses that block 99% to 100% of UV rays should be worn.
3. Avoid The Afternoon Sun: UV rays are at its strongest between 10 am and 4 pm. Avoid the sun
during these hours. This will limit the effects of being in contact with harmful UV rays.
4. Oppose The Temptation: Refuse to give in to the desire to tan outdoors in natural light or
indoors under artificial UV light (sunlamps or sun beds). UV rays enter the inner layers of the skin. In reply, the body produces additional
melanin. That causes the skin to be obviously darker. A tan is proof that UV has damaged some of the skin's cells. It has been verified
that a tan is not healthy or safe.
5. Get Expert Advice: To help ensure the potential of a healthy, beautiful skin, you should
schedule regular appointments with your dermatologist. He/She can walk you through the steps of a monthly self-examination. Monthly
self-examinations can help make sure that you discover any abnormal spots or changes to your skin and get proper medicine attention from
your dermatologist. Your dermatologist can also offer education and information about skin care and explain the numerous sun damage prevention
and all treatment options that are available to you.
Sun Damage Treatment
There is a range of treatment options available for sun damage. The treatments include prescription and non prescription
medication. Cosmetic procedures are available for more serious sun damage. It is important that you speak with your dermatologist about
your level of sun damage and treatment that will best suit your individual needs.
Non Prescriptive Treatments
Non prescriptive treatments are generally appropriate for almost no sun damage and are available at most drugstores.
Types of Non Prescriptive Medication Available
1. Retinol: Retinol is pure Vitamin A. Vitamin A is a part of forming
and maintaining healthy skin. Retinol encourages the production and elimination of skin cells and stimulates the renewal of keratinocytes,
which is the cells that synthesize keratin. Keratin is also the protein that makes up the skin, hair, and nails. The effects of retinol
include softer skin and reduced appearance of fine lines.
2. Copper/Copper Peptides: Copper is a necessary trace metal in the body that is responsible
for power and flexibility of the skin. Copper is added to specific antiaging formulations to enhance the skin's elasticity and strength.
3. Alpha Hydroxin Acids (AHAs): AHAs removes
dead skin cells from the upper layer of the skin. This increases creation of new skin cells and controls moisture levels. That results in
a smoother, more healthy skin tone. AHAs are resulting from natural sources, such as fruit, milk and sugar cane.
4. Antioxidants Vitamin C & E: Oxidative stress (primarily
caused by sun exposure) damages the skin's support formation, the collagen matrix, Vitamin C and E, fights oxidative pressure and helps
cells mend prior damage. When applied to the skin, antioxidants can lower the appearance of wrinkles and skin discoloration, and enhance
5. Soy: The effective components of soybeans are mild and efficient additions to numerous skin
care preparations. The benefits of soy consist of smoothing and moisturizing the skin, evening overall skin tone, and delaying the look
of hair regrowth.
A prescription medication treatment is only available with a prescription from a dermatologist. The following
prescription medications are available at most pharmacies.
1. Tretinoin: Tretinoin is a derived from vitamin A that works at the cellular level. Medical
studies imply that topical tretinoin increases collagen production to better the skin's inner arrangement. Tretinoin has been clinically
confirmed to decrease fine lines and wrinkles, fade brown spots, and perfect overall skin texture.
2. Hydroquinones: Hydroquinones are topical treatments, that
are applied directly to the skin, which inhibit melanin production, the material that colors the skin. Hydroquinones helps remove
overpigmented cells to enhance overall skin tone and clarity.
Cosmetic procedures are more complex treatments for more serious sun damage that can only be done under the direct
management of a skilled skin care professional.
1. Microdermabrasion: During microdermabrasion, lightly scrapes away minute surface skin
particles and stimulates the structure of new skin cells. This reduces the look of fine wrinkles and skin discoloration, improving skin
texture, and ever-increasing skin sparkle. Multiple treatments are typically needed.
2. Chemical Peels: A chemical solution which is applied to the face in order to remove the
outer layer(s) of your skin. As the skin regenerates, it is noticeably smoother, softer, and less wrinkled.
3.Laser Resurfacing: Surface imperfections (wrinkles, lines, and age spots) are removed using
controlled laser light penetration. Through laser resurfacing, undesired skin tissue is vaporized layer by layer.
4. Collagen and Fat Injections: Injections of collagen or fat taken from another place in the
body are used to fill out wrinkles, deep creases, and acne scars. Improvement differ from patient to patient. Regular injections may be
5. Botulinum Toxin Type A: Botulinum toxin injections block nerve impulses to facial muscles,
by paralyzing the action of those muscles. Botulinum Toxic Type A is most often used to decrease deep wrinkles in the forehead and around
Sun protection is an important part of all of our lives. Many of us have a more difficult time then others taking
care of our skin. Some need to use prescription medication to help protect and improve our skin. Remember to discuss everything with your