Sun damage is the damage that occurs to the skin when it is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
UV radiation can cause a variety of skin problems, including premature aging, wrinkles, sunspots, and even skin cancer.
Even if you don’t get a sunburn, every time you’re exposed to UV radiation, you’re damaging your skin.
Why don’t we think about cumulative sun damage?
It’s important to remember that sun damage is cumulative, and even small amounts of sun exposure can add up over time. There are a few reasons why we might not think more about the cumulative impact of sun damage.
- We’re not always aware of the risks. Many people know that sun exposure can cause sunburn, but they may not be aware of the long-term risks of sun damage, such as premature aging and skin cancer.
- We tend to focus on the immediate consequences of our actions. We’re more likely to think about the risk of getting a sunburn today than the risk of developing skin cancer in 20 years.
- It’s easy to forget to protect ourselves from the sun. We may be so busy with our daily lives that we don’t always have time to think about sun protection. Or, we may get caught off guard by a sunny day and forget to put on sunscreen.
- The effects of sun damage can be gradual and subtle. It can be hard to notice the signs and symptoms of sun damage, such as premature aging and wrinkles, until it’s too late.
What to watch for
There are a number of signs and symptoms of sun damage, including:
- Premature aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines
- Sunspots, also known as age spots or liver spots
- Rough, dry, or leathery skin
- Actinic keratoses, which are rough, scaly patches of skin that can develop into cancer
- Changes in the texture or color of moles
Always be alert for any signs of potential skin cancer and seek a doctors appointment straightaway to get a diagnosis. Early detection and treatment of skin cancer can be life-saving.
What to do
The best way to prevent sun damage is to protect your skin from the sun’s UV radiation. You can do this by:
- Wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and reapplying it every two hours, or more often if you’re swimming or sweating
- Seeking shade, especially during the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest
- Wearing protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses
If you notice any signs of sun damage, it’s important to see a dermatologist for regular checkups.
It’s important to take steps to protect your skin from the sun every day, even on cloudy days. Here are some additional tips for protecting your skin from sun damage:
- Avoid tanning beds. Tanning beds emit UV radiation that can damage your skin and increase your risk of skin cancer.
- Be aware of your skin type. People with fair skin, blue eyes, and light hair are more sensitive to the sun and have a higher risk of skin cancer.
- Protect your skin even on cloudy days. UV radiation can penetrate clouds, so it’s important to protect your skin even when it’s not sunny.
- Teach your children about sun safety. It’s important to start teaching children about sun safety at a young age to help them develop healthy sun habits that will last a lifetime.
Sun damage is a serious problem, but it’s preventable.
Recognising that sun damage is cumulative is a very helpful attitude. Every time you are burned adds up, but even if you don’t go red or burned, you are still exposing the skin to damaging UVA/UVB.
By taking steps to protect your skin from the sun, you can reduce your risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
Private Mole Checks & Removal
The London Mole Removal Centre is a private company, offering private mole checks and mole removal treatment for unwanted moles. The experienced doctors and surgeons also offer removal treatment for a range of other skin lesions (e.g. cysts, skin tags, warts, verruca, lipoma, xanthelasma).
All consultations and treatments are carried out in person by doctors who are specially trained in the latest laser and skin surgery techniques and are highly experienced in the field.
Further advantages of private treatment at the London Mole Removal Centre include:
- No waiting lists
- Fully trained doctors, registered with GMC
- Moles can often be removed in the same appointment as the consultation, saving the need for a repeat visit and allowing patients to get their skin lesions removed very quickly
- Choice of 4 clinics in London plus one in Bristol
- Removed moles tested with report provided
For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7731 3791.