A sun tan is actually visible damage to your skin. After being exposed to the sun, your skin cells may develop other noticeable changes, such as freckles or acne. After repeat episodes of sun damage, the skin may turn leathery, dry, wrinkled and discolored. The damaged skin may bruise easily. Chronic sun damage is a leading cause of skin cancer, which is the most commonly diagnosed type of cancer.
Risks of Sun Overexposure
Overexposure to the sun may cause short-term effects such as allergic reactions and rashes. Regular overexposure to the sun may weaken your body’s immune system, making it harder for you to fight off germs. People with chronic overexposure to the sun have increased risks of basal and squamous cell skin cancer and melanoma.
How to Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage
You can still enjoy the great outdoors without risking any further damage to your skin. If possible, avoid going outside between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm. This is when the sun’s ultraviolet rays are the most intense. When you do go outdoors, wear a wide-brimmed hat. The hat protects your scalp, forehead and eyes from sun damage. The hat’s brim also helps to shade your neck.
Sunglasses also help to protect your eyes. If you can, wear long sleeves and a long skirt or pants. You can also select clothing that has built-in UV protection. If you are swimming or when pants and long sleeves are not practical, wear sunscreen. Choose a product that has an SPF of 50 or higher. Reapply the sunscreen every 1.5 to 2 hours.
Be mindful of any side effects from medications that you are using. Medications with estrogen, some antibiotics and some skin medications increase your sensitivity to the sun and may increase your risk of sun damage.
What to Do About Skin Damage from the Sun
If you do have skin damage from the sun, you may be able to correct it. Cosmetic surgery might be an option to reverse fine lines and wrinkles caused by sun exposure. Injections of dermal fillers can also fill in wrinkles that are caused by the sun. There may also be prescription creams and ointments that you can use to help restore elasticity and dryness caused by sun exposure. One of the best plastic surgeons in Orange County can make recommendations for products to use before or after surgery.