How Does the Sun Change Your Skin?

Date: Aug 2018

Spending time in the sun can have a significant impact on your skin, particularly when the sunlight is more intense during the summer. Some of the changes are quick and obvious, but others can remain hidden for a long time.
Does the sun change your skin? People sunbathing

Tanning and Sunburn

Two of the most obvious effects of sun exposure are tanning and sunburn. Both are caused when the skin is damaged by the UV rays in sunlight. Some of us respond to this damage by producing extra melanin, which darkens the skin. However, if we have fair skin or spend too long in the sun, we can end up with a sunburn. The tan or sunburn will fade, but the damage that was done to our skin will remain and could cause serious problems later on.

Freckles and Pigmentation

Other changes in pigmentation can also happen as a result of sun exposure. If you have freckles then it means there are patches of your skin that respond to sunlight more easily. Sunshine causes these areas to produce more melanin, creating freckles. The freckles may fade or even disappear completely in winter or if you avoid the sun. However, other changes in pigmentation such as age spots can be more permanent. Age spots or sun spots are small patches of darker pigmentation that can develop after many years of sun exposure.

Skin Ageing

Signs of ageing such as wrinkles are closely associated by the amount of time we spend in the sun. If you get a lot of sunshine then you are more likely to see the signs of ageing earlier and to develop them more severely, especially if you did not use sun protection.

Skin Cancer and Other Conditions

Just as the signs of ageing can take a long time to develop, the results of sun damage can remain hidden for years. Sun damage doesn’t just cause short term effects such as tanning or sunburn. It can also damage the DNA in your cells, which could eventually lead to skin cancer. Sun damage is linked to melanoma as well as non-melanoma skin cancers such as Basal Cell Carcinoma. Sun exposure is also connected to some non-cancerous skin growth such as actinic keratoses.

Did you know?

Most moles are not a cause for concern and present a purely cosmetic problem. However, moles can occasionally undergo changes that lead to them becoming cancerous.

Acne is a common condition characterised by blackheads, whiteheads and cysts. It affects the greasy and hair-bearing areas such as the face, chest and back.

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