We have come to recognize the danger of exposing our skin to ultraviolet light. More individuals are steering clear of tanning beds, and many are limiting their outdoor time to the hours of the day when sunlight is gentler. Though awareness has increased in some ways, it may be lacking in others. For example, it may not be commonly known that sun damage comes in many forms. Here, we list a few so you can become more informed about your skin health.
A sunburn is perhaps the most commonly recognized form of sun damage. A sunburn occurs when we have gotten a bit too much sun exposure. Usually, a burn is a primary response to UVA light rather than UVB light. This type of sun damage involves the outer layer of the skin and may involve varying degrees of redness and pain. Blistering indicates a second-degree burn, which leads to deep tissue damage that may make itself known years after the burn has occurred. Sunburns that blister can benefit from medical attention.
Most people realize that a sunburn is damaging. There are millions who still believe that there is a safe away to suntan, though. The bottom line on this theory is that there isn’t. A suntan occurs when the skin responds to UVA and UVB light. The darkening of the skin means that changes are occurring on the molecular level. Like a sunburn, the effects of a suntan linger beneath the skin and make themselves known years later in the form of premature aging.
There is a genetic aspect to freckles, but research also indicates that the uptick in melanin production that occurs as a result of exposure to ultraviolet light is also involved in the development of flat, circular spots on the skin. People with light freckles may notice that these spots darken during the summertime or that they develop more after spending time in the sun.
Discoloration that occurs on aging skin has often been referred to as age spots. In truth, the brown splotches that form on our skin as we grow older are merely the effects of sunburns and suntans that occurred in our youth. These spots are formed of clumps of melanin that the body produces as it absorbs ultraviolet radiation.
Brown or red patches of skin that become scaly and rough are called actinic keratosis. These spots are more commonly noticed on people with light hair and skin. The concern related to actinic keratosis is that these spots are considered early skin cancers. Treatment is straightforward and usually successful in stopping the progression of the growth.
Bucay Center for Dermatology and Aesthetics offers several treatments to reduce the signs of sun damage. Contact our La Casita office at 210-692-3000 or our Sonterra office at 210-370-9995 for more information.