It’s common knowledge that the sun can do extreme damage to our skin, but did you know it isn’t limited to early signs of aging or skin cancer? Below are eight different skin conditions you may not know the sun can cause.
The sun has direct contact with exposed skin, leading to a loss of moisture and essential oils. This lack of nutrients and moisture can lead to dry, flaky skin. Using sunscreen and moisturizing regularly can help relieve dry skin caused by the sun.
When we are in the sun, our melanocytes kick into high gear, protecting our fragile skin from overexposure to dangerous sunrays. This causes small clumps of melanin to pile up, causing freckles to become more prominent, especially on those with fair skin.
Overexposure to the sun can cause discoloration of the skin. The sun can cause your regular skin pigmentation to turn a deep yellow, a condition called sallowness. To prevent or treat sallow skin, exfoliate regularly, consider taking a vitamin D supplement, using a brightening cleanser with vitamin C and wearing sunscreen with at least 30 SPF every day. Consider a product like Visha Skin Care’s Advanced Correcting Serum.
Another common name for solar elastosis is wrinkles. The sun causes the skin’s elastic qualities to vanish, causing early signs of aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. The elastic tissues within the skin deteriorate from direct and/or constant exposure to the sun, causing the skin to sag and droop. The lack of tautness and tissue results in premature wrinkles.
Age spots are a collection of pigment in the upper layer of the skin. They are usually tan, brown or black spots that appear on the face, arms, shoulders and hands. They are flat, oval areas and can range from the size of a freckle to a half-inch or more in diameter. They can sometimes clump together to create larger areas that are more prominent and noticeable.
Age spots are most common in people older than 50, but younger people can get them due to the spots being hereditary. They often become more apparent as you increase in age because your skin has undergone more exposure to UV rays, which damage your skin. The melanin in your skin globs together, causing these unsightly blemishes. Although they aren’t pretty, age spots are, for the most part, harmless. Still, you should make sure to have your doctor check any new skin changes that your body goes through to be safe, and remember the ABCDE of melanoma.
Moles are round or oval-shaped spots of raised skin that are often brown, red or black in appearance. They are extremely common and are usually nothing to worry about. However, excessive sun exposure can cause moles to become dangerous.
You should see a doctor if your mole:
- appears after age 20
- is painful, itching or bleeding
- is expelling a discharge
- is scaly
- has changed shape, size, color or surface
Polymorphous light eruption
Polymorphous light eruption is acquired from sun exposure and is most common in women between the ages of 20 and 40. This condition results from sun exposure, occurring in people who have developed a sensitivity to the sun. It often presents as a bumpy red or pink rash, is itchy and dry and is often accompanied by a burning sensation. The condition will eventually go away on its own, but protection from the sun can prevent further outbreaks.
Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. Melanoma results from unrepaired damage to skin cells that then result in mutations leading to tumors.
- a change in the color, size or shape of a mole
- a new mole or skin growth
- the color of a mole spreading to the surrounding skin
- itching, bleeding or discharge from a mole
Basal cell carcinoma is another type of skin cancer you can develop from sun exposure. This type of cancer is an abnormal skin growth that occurs in the deepest layer of the epidermis. Luckily, the basal cell usually remains in one area without spreading.
- waxy skin growth
- unhealed wounds
- sunken wounds
- a sore with no injury
- crusty or bloody wound
Squamous cell carcinomas are the second most common form of skin cancer. Squamous cell carcinomas are an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells growing in the squamous cells, which compose most of the upper layer of the skin.
- unhealed sores
- changes in a mole or skin growth
- scaly growth with red areas
- sores in your mouth
- newly developed growths
All skin cancers are dangerous. If you notice any of the symptoms above or have concerns about patches of skin, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. The earlier these cancers are detected, the less harmful they will be to your body.