This Is What the Sun Does to Your Face (and Here’s What You Can Do About It)

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There’s no doubt about it – the sun’s rays feel absolutely amazing, especially in the summer! While we may want to go outside, work on our tans, and soak up as much sun as possible before summer ends, too much sun exposure can do a real number on our skin. In fact, too much exposure to the sun’s rays can give you the very real risk of developing wrinkles, age spots, fine lines, and, in some cases, skin cancer.

You may think that skin changes are a normal part of aging, but it doesn’t have to be. Sun exposure causes most of our skin’s changes by damaging our skin’s fibers. When these fibers break down, your skin will begin to sag, stretch, and lose its elasticity. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays can cause pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions, benign tumors, freckles, fine and coarse wrinkles, a discoloration of your skin, and more. These changes may not be terribly prevalent when you’re young, but you will definitely notice them when you’re older, especially if you fail to take good care of your skin!

Although skin cancer is the most common form of all cancers in the United States, there are a number of steps you can take to protect your skin. The biggest thing you can do is to apply sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or greater at least 20 minutes before going outside. You will want to reapply that sunscreen every 2 hours that you are outside and more frequently if you’re sweating or swimming. Additionally, you’ll want to avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours – between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Also, become familiar with your skin and perform monthly self-exams to see if you notice any changes or new growths.

Article by
Saint Louis Physician