Do you know the signs of sun damage to your skin?

Springtime is here and summertime is right around the corner. While you’re no doubt anticipating some fun in the sun as the temperatures rise, know that over-exposure to the sun’s damaging UV rays can lead to a myriad of health and beauty issues. Cellular damage, premature wrinkling, age spots and skin cancer all are results of failing to adequately protect your skin.

Unfortunately, many people either are unaware of the signs of sun over-exposure or simply fail to take them as seriously as they should. Do you know the signs of sun damage? New Jersey’s Metropolitan Dermatology offers these tell-tale tips:

  • Sun tan: That gorgeous golden glow actually is the result of injury to the skin’s upper layer that can accelerate aging and increase your risk for developing skin cancer. Don’t be fooled by the popular argument that a mild “base” tan can be healthy or protect your skin from sunburn on your next outing. Truth is, UV damage to your skin can happen in minutes and have a cumulative effect.
  • Sunburn: Sunburns actually are first- or second-degree burns to your skin. First-degree sunburns are characterized by redness of the skin, heat to the touch and mild pain that goes away within a few days. But if you experience a deeper redness and blistered skin, you’ve got a second-degree burn that may require medical treatment.
  • Wrinkles: Over time, the Sun’s UV rays can cause a cumulative breakdown of elastin, the fibers that hold your skin’s layers taught and smooth. As a matter of fact, more than 80 percent of the signs of aging in adult skin is are direct results of suntans or sunburns experienced before age 18.
  • Skin tone changes: Those varied patches of light and dark skin signify changes in the skin’s pigmentation. Persistent redness may be a sign of sun damage to your small blood vessels and, unfortunately, that damage typically is permanent.
  • Freckles: They may be cute and they’re generally harmless, even if they increase in number with continued sun exposure. But if one of them changes in size, shape or color or becomes painful, it may not be a freckle at all. Instead, it could be an early cancer. You’re particularly at risk if that cancer turns out to be melanoma, the leading cause of death from skin disease.
  • Farmer’s lip: That persistent dryness and cracking of the lips calls for much more than a little ChapStick. Known informally as “farmer’s lip,” it’s actually a precancerous condition called actinic cheilitis. Other signs include swelling, loss of the sharp border between the lip and skin, and prominent lip lines.

Protect your skin by minimizing your time in the sun, wearing protective clothing and applying a high-SPF sunscreen every time you venture out into the sunshine. If you already see signs of sun-induced aging in your skin, consider an IPL photofacial or microdermabrasion. And if you any suspicion of cancer, get a melanoma screening immediately. Call New Jersey’s Metropolitan Dermatology in Clark at 732-574-1399; Kearny at 201-997-8008; or Teaneck at 201-837-3939 to schedule a consultation today.

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