First of all, those of you with children need to be really good about applying sunscreen to their sweet little faces and bodies! Most of us get 80% of our total life sun exposure by the time we are 18! When we are young we don’t know better and it will come back to haunt us later. The main issue with sun damage is that it is cumulative, so while it is almost impossible to reverse, you can keep it from getting worse!
Dermatologists know that a tan does not prevent sun damage, it is sun damage. Tanning occurs when the UV rays penetrate the skin and injure the pigment cells. The effects are cumulative, and with every burn, the skin becomes more damaged.
Chronic overexposure to the sun changes the texture and weakens the elastic properties of the skin which leaves it looking aged and dryer. The skin thickens as well which makes it look leathery.
You can tell when you look at the top of your arm vs. the underside of your arm the effects of the sun exposure, because the underside is hidden more from the sun, therefore lighter, softer, and with less damage.
Sun-induced skin damage causes wrinkles, furrows, easy bruising, brown or “liver spots”, precancerous lesions, and potentially skin cancer.
Immune system suppression and disease.
In people who have been treated for an infection of the Herpes simplex virus, sun exposure can weaken the immune system so that it can no longer keep the virus under control. This results in reactivation of the infection and recurring cold sores. It also makes the body more susceptible to other infections and cancers! Yikes!
Eye damage. The sun can cause cataracts and other eye damage. Cataracts are one of the leading causes of blindness. Make sure you take the proper precautions and wear sunglasses with UV protection.