What is Sun Damage?
The sun has many effects both immediate and long-term. Sun damage to many is only the long-term effects we see as we age but really the negative effects can be seen both immediately after exposure as well as years later.
What Are the Effects of Sun Damage?
Short-term effects of the sun:
Sunburns are the #1 immediate effect from the sun. Occurring most often between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm when the sun is the strongest. Although you are more likely to burn on hot days, you can also burn on overcast days and in snowy conditions. We know that even just one severe sunburn increases your risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
Tans and Tanning are often misunderstood as a sign of healthy or “protected” skin. Many will do indoor tanning prior to a vacation so that they do not burn on vacation. Tans and tanning is the result of injury to the skin. Although a tan is a short-term effect it can do long-term damage resulting in premature aging/wrinkles and skin cancer.
Long-term effects of the sun:
Aging occurs naturally but in people who spend many hours outdoors and sunbathe without sun protection, they can develop tough, leathery skin making them appear to be much older than they are.
Wrinkles are directly related to sun exposure and can be avoided by staying out of the sun and using sun protection all of your life.
Skin cancer is found 90% of the time on sun-exposed skin. Many people do not realize that the sun exposure they had as teenagers, young adults and mature adults all add up and can result in skin cancer.
For sun damage related pigmentation or damage, spots can be removed and lightened using intense pulsed light lasers and acid-based treatments such as chemical peels. If more severe sun damage has occurred, you may need something more powerful such as CO2 laser resurfacing or even excision if it has bee determined to be cancerous or precancerous.