Who wouldn’t want to sport that beautiful tanned skin in their vacation pictures? While browsing through these pictures we see the gorgeous tan but fail to read the fine print that is invisible to the naked eye, unless you pop on the goggles of wisdom. It talks of the dangers that we face through our sun damaged skin, all because we fail to follow some basic skincare precautions.
Effects of Over-exposure to Sunlight
The sunlight that gives us warmth also takes away something from our skin on being exposed to it for a long duration.
- The excessive heat dries out unprotected exposed areas of your skin and depletes your skin’s reserves of natural lubricating oils.
- The damage does not end here itself, for the ultraviolet rays that are given out by the sun can cause skin burning and long-term skin damages.
Scared much? Let’s have a look at what excess of sunlight does to your skin.
1. Dry Skin
This is one symptom or damage that appears when you start exposing your skin unprotected to sunlight for long hours. Unprotected here does not refer to you covering yourself from head to toe but it refers to not applying a sunscreen containing the right amount of SPF. The exposed skin then becomes prone to moisture loss and also loses the essential oils that make your skin supple and smooth. The result is you get a dry, flaky, and prematurely wrinkled skin that ages you many times faster.
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Sunburn is what you experience immediately after a prolonged exposure to sunlight and the UV radiation that comes along with it. It is a kind of skin injury that causes painful reddening of your skin when the sunburn is mild. In case of extreme sunburn, you may get small vesicles or bumps on your skin, which are filled with fluid or even large blisters in some cases.
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3. Actinic Keratosis
Have you ever experienced tiny coarse bumps on your body that feel like sandpaper or have witnessed a case of pink, red, yellow or brownish scaly patches on the skin that has borne the brunt of overexposure to the sun’s rays? That is what Actinic Keratosis looks like.
- While you can treat a sunburn by ointment application, Actinic Keratosis is more formidable and requires freezing, chemical treatment or surgical removal by a physician.
- Sunburn occurs in a one-off case of overexposure to the sun, Actinic Keratosis develops when certain areas of the skin have experienced repeated or long-term UV light exposure.
- It presents a warning for a more serious ailment impending and waiting to cause serious damage to your skin, which in almost 10% to 15% of the cases, is squamous cell cancer of the skin.
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4. Long-term Damage
If the skin is exposed to the sun’s rays for long duration and for long-term, then, the changes that are brought about are in the collagen levels of the skin. Collagen is a structural protein present in our skin.
- One of the effects of this change is photo-aging which can be described as premature aging of the skin due to exposure to the sun. Photo-aging tends to create wrinkles and fine lines on your skin due to the collagen level changes in your dermis or deep skin layer.
- Another long-term and the harmful effect is Actinic Purpura which causes bleeding from sensitive blood vessels that are present under the skin’s surface.
- Prolonged and unprotected exposure to the sun can also increase the risk of malignant melanoma and skin cancer.
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So, go ahead and dab that sunscreen all over you when heading out, not only on the sunny days but on every single day, if a healthy skin and a healthy life full of sunshine are what you want.