Sun Damage: Signs & Symptoms To Look Out For On Your Skin
Dark spots, sagging skin, wrinkles and discoloration betray the hours and days we’ve spent exposed to the elements. Unfortunately for sun lovers, sun damage can age our skin prematurely and increase our risk of developing skin cancer.
Unlike typical, chronological ageing, which is determined by your age and genetics, sun damage occurs when UV light from the sun permanently changes the skin’s structure.
Read on for the most common signs and symptoms of sun damage and how to identify signs as quickly as possible.
Rough, Dry Skin Texture
After many years of UV exposure, you may develop textural changes in the skin. The symptoms include scaly patches and crusty skin that is thicker in density and raised from the surface. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, this type of sun damage can also lead to skin cancer; an AK sometimes turns into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Keeping an eye on any changes in your skin and consulting a doctor will help you catch any potential skin cancers early.
Wrinkles & Fine Lines
Long-term changes in the skin's collagen, which gives the skin its elasticity, can be a symptom of sun damage. These long-term changes can include fine lines, wrinkles and a thickened skin texture.
Sagging, Loose Skin
Elastin and collagen are two proteins in the skin that deteriorate, not only due to the natural ageing process, but also because of external factors over time. These factors include too much sun exposure, or lifestyle choices such as poor nutrition or excessive drinking.
As collagen deteriorates, fragile collagen structure leads to decreased pressure around the blood vessels and reduced elasticity of the skin. This change means spider veins are more likely to appear at the skin’s surface, a network of red, purple, and blue lines reminiscent of a spider’s web.
A Ruddy Complexion
It's possible for a ruddy complexion to be inherited. However, it can also be caused by excessive sun exposure. Ruddy skin is characterized by a reddish appearance and skin that looks uneven, blotchy or has broken capillaries.
Uneven skin pigmentation (or hyperpigmentation) is a broad term that refers to an uneven skin tone or dark spots appearing. When it comes to uneven skin tone, parts of the skin become discoloured or darkened, caused by either sun damage or genetics.
How To Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage
Keep your skin looking radiant and healthy long term, here are the steps you can take to protect your skin.
- Apply SPF Every 2 Hours
- Regularly Check Your Body
- Limit Time Outdoors & Wear Protective Clothing
- Choose A Sunscreen With SPF 30 Or Higher
- Look For "Broad-Spectrum" On The Label
- Choose An SPF With Moisturising Ingredients