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What is Sun Damaged Skin? … and what can we do about it?

We all adore the beauty of a long sunny summer's day... and know all-too-well the potential consequences of over exposure - both short and long term.

Our Skin and The Sun: Beauty & The Beast

The sun on our skin can feel like so good. This is because the rays of the sun affect our mood and sense of well-being by altering the levels of certain neurotransmitters in our brains. The warmth is calming and relaxing. The UV rays also trigger the production of vitamin D, essential for healthy bones and muscle. That's truly a beautiful thing.

Over time, there is a darker side - exposure to the sun leads to skin damage. Generally the more exposure the greater the risk and extent of such damage - and it may not be visible for years.

Long-term sun exposure can also increase the risk of skin cancer. Much of this damage is done deep in the skin, beyond the surface.

This can include:

  1. changes in the color of the skin

  2. changes in the balance of pigment in the skin

  3. changes in texture of the skin, as well as

  4. the development of various types of skin growths.

Sun kissed

Some common types of sun damage you might be familiar with include:

  • Sun spots (also known as age spots or liver spots) ;

  • Hyperpigmentation - larger areas and patches of darker skin tone triggered by exposure, becoming permanent overtime;

  • freckles - often times genetic in younger years and not indicative of damage, but this doesn't necessarily remain the case as we age.

  • Moles & other deep raised discolored oval / circular spots

  • Actinic keratoses - precancerous scaly or crusty growths.

In order to appreciate how sun damages the sun, we need to know a little more about our wonderful skin and about the beautiful sun.

Our Skin

All regular human skin is made up of three layers: the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue.

  1. The epidermis acts as a barrier, protecting the body and regulating hydration.

  2. The dermis provides structural support and contains blood vessels, nerve endings and hair follicles.

  3. The subcutaneous tissue is composed of fat and connective tissue and acts as an energy reserve.

See this article for a more in-depth look at each of the layers.

The Sun

The wavelengths of sunlight that penetrate the skin's different layers vary.

UV radiation is divided into three main types: UVA, UVB, and UVC.

Of the three, UVA radiation has the longest wavelength and can penetrate the epidermis (the outermost layer of the skin) and the upper part of the dermis (the layer of skin beneath the epidermis). UVA rays are responsible for a tan and are also known to be responsible for photoaging, which can cause wrinkles and other signs of aging.

UVB radiation has a shorter wavelength than UVA and primarily affects the epidermis. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn and are also a major cause of skin cancer.

UVC radiation has the shortest wavelength and is absorbed by the ozone layer. UVC radiation does not reach the earth's surface in significant amounts.

Both UVA and UVB can cause damage to the skin. UVA is known to penetrate deeper into the skin and induce long-term damage and photoaging, while UVB causes more acute damage like sunburn. It is imperative to protect yourself from both UVA and UVB radiation to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

A miracle of modern time, technology has created the means by which to create, on demand, specific wavelengths and so specific kinds of radiations. Not only can these new wavelengths negate effects of long term sun exposure and remove unwanted hair from the body (IPL & BBL), but can also target and treat certain cancers.

Learn more about the amazing IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) and BBL (Broad Band Light) technologies available at Palm City Medical Aesthetics here.

Further, we offer an array of treatments to address skin damage within each of the skin's layer.

Our medical professionals at Palm City Medical Aesthetics are fully qualified, experienced and care focused.

So if you have specific concerns about sun damage you're experiencing, and you'd like to explore potential ways of improving, our medical professionals would be glad to schedule & provide a free consultation, assessment, recommendations and treatment plan.

The sun is the center of our universe, literally, we would not exist without it.

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