While we need the sun so our bodies can produce vitamin D, we also need to protect our skin from harmful UV rays. Such rays cause a wide variety of skin damage, all of which contribute to an aged appearance. Let’s review the types of damage sun can cause to skin before consulting with the experts at your local West Hollywood skin clinic:
UV exposure eventually causes flesh to change texture. It may thin, resulting in easy bruising, fine lines, and skin tearing, or it may thicken. Thickened skin includes coarse wrinkles, such as those found on the back of the neck. These wrinkles do not disappear when skin is stretched.
Sun spots, or solar keratoses, are a type of skin lesion that develop from UV ray exposure. They range in size and color, though many are red in appearance. Sun spots may also look warty or scaly, and usually appear on the cheeks, nose, upper lip, ears, temple, forehead, hands, and neck.
Continuous UV exposure can cause pigment changes. Such changes usually appear as freckles on light-skinned individuals. Large freckles are frequently referred to as age or liver spots, and often appear on the backs of hands, shoulders, chest, arms, and upper back.
Overexposure to the sun can also cause skin cancer. The three main types of skin cancer are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma, with the former the most deadly. Melanoma metastasizes more quickly than the other two, and risk is linked to the amount of sun exposure a person receives before turning 20. It generally appears on skin that’s received high amounts of UV exposure.
Basal cell carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer, but also the least dangerous. It tends to spread locally, and may take months or years to develop. Squamous cell carcinoma is capable of metastasizing, however it does not do so at the rate of melanoma.