UV damage is one of the most common issues that the Skin Care Krew counsels patients about. By the time our patients come in complaining of brown spots, texture issues or rough scaly patches, the damage is done.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has plenty of things to say about sun damage, and it is past time for all of us to listen.
First, there is no such thing as a healthy tan! The skin produces tan in order to shade itself, like a built in umbrella if you will. However, over time the umbrella breaks down and the skin beneath feels the effects of the UV light.
Second- A sunburn is caused when a high dose of radiation on the form of UV light kills the top layer of skin cells. Not only does a moderate sunburn kill skin cells, but after the peeling occurs, the the new skin cells beneath are even more prone to damage.
Third- Sun exposure causes premature aging of the skin because of 3 factors. UVB stimulates the cells of the epidermis to produce more quickly, and this causes a thickening effect. UVA light bypasses the thickened skin and effects the connective tissue (collagen) and the elasticity weakens. Overproduction of melanin from UVB exposure creates spoting. So combining all three leaves an over exposed patient with coarse, sagging spotted skin.
The best way to prevent UV damage is still to use a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 spf and reapply every 2 hours. Broad brimmed hats, sun resistant clothing and avoiding the sun during peak exposure hours are the gold standard for protecting yourself. Another rule of thumb is if you shadow is shorter than you are, it is time to head inside!