Dr. Miguel Montero (Discover Laser) explains to AesthetiCare Skin Expert Jenna why we need to protect our skin all year round, no matter the weather.
Along with the immediate problems of sunburn and redness, we will also start to see wrinkling, poor texture, dryness and pigmentation in sun damaged skin.
The issues you can easily notice will depend on the type of skin you have. Light skin is generally thinner, so we can observe more fine lines and larger amounts of pigmentation. With darker skin types, such as Mediterrannean and Asian skin, we will notice a thickening of the skin and obvious blood vessels. This is caused by damage to the structures within the skin.
When our skin is exposed to sunlight, a chemical change occurs that affects our skin’s DNA. This DNA is important, because it repairs skin cells and ensures that each cell functions properly. We’ve always known the role that UVB rays play in skin cancer, but it’s now become clearer that UVA, infrared and visible light (all emitted from the sun) also contribute to cell damage and increase our chances of developing the disease.
When in the sun, our skin tries its hardest to protect itself and produces more dark brown pigment, melanin. This stimulation of the production of melanin can be noticed on a skin analysis, as it highlights blotches where the melanin has coagulated.
But the suns rays don’t just stimulate melanin production. They also impact on our skin’s collagen and elastin production, which makes our skin less elastic, thus leading to wrinkles and sagging.
The immediate signs of sun damage are obvious; hot, red skin, which may be accompanied by blisters, as well as nausea and dizziness (sun stroke) in extreme cases. The longer term, less obvious effects are DNA damage, which is what can lead to skin cancer.