Summer sun means being extra vigilant about protecting your skin. Here are 5 things to know about how your sun damages your skin, what to watch for and how to protect your skin.
1. The Sun Ages You. You may think a tan look great, but it’s actually your skin trying to protect itself. When the sun shines on your skin, the skin produces pigment to scatter and absorb those rays – that’s your tan. But, it’s not healthy. The ultraviolet A and B radiation can weaken the lower layer of the skin, called the dermis. The result of this damage? Wrinkles, brown spots and skin cancer can result.
2. There are 3 Skin Cancers – one is the most deadly. The most common form of skin cancer is basil cell carcinoma which generally starts and stays in the top layer of the skin. Squamous cell carcinoma, which looks like a wart with raised or an open sore, usually will remain at its original site but can spread to other organs. Melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer and spreads more easily to other organs where it can be deadly. It causes 75% of skin cancer deaths.
3. Do a Self-Exam. Look for these trouble signs. Small pearly white bumps or sores that don’t heal and can bleed are one sign of potential trouble. Red, scaly bumps – with a depression in the middle and a scar-like appearance – are another sign of a skin cancer. Melanoma may be marked by an asymmetrical border, different colors that can appear iridescent and an area larger than a pencil eraser. It can be either flat or raised. If you see signs of a problem, go to a dermatologist for a complete skin examination.
4. Know your Risk. If you have fair skin, multiple moles, a history of sunburns and live in an area where ultraviolet light is stronger, such as the southern United States, you have a stronger risk. Remember, just one blistering, peeling sunburn is enough to increase your risk.
5. Protect your Skin. Use a broad-spectrum sun screen with a high SPF (sun protection factor). Wear your sunscreen every day. Start by applying it in the morning with your makeup. Give your sunscreen 20 minutes to be absorbed and start protecting you. Use enough so you cover your skin thoroughly – you should feel a little messy. Then, protect further by wearing a hat, sunglasses and long sleeved, tightly woven clothes.
If you’re really good about protection and getting regular skin exams, but you started too late and have sun damage, don’t give up. Today there are great options to make your skin look fresher, younger and less damaged. Book a consultation at a medical spa. They offer both chemical peels and laser treatments that can reduce lines and, even, wrinkles, smooth out your complexion and get rid of dark spots. Best of all, they can also increase collagen production to help your skin help itself.