Although most people love the warmth and light of the sun, too much sun exposure can significantly damage human skin. The sun’s heat dries out unprotected skin and depletes the skin’s supply of natural lubricating oils. In addition, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause burning and long-term changes in the skin’s structure. The most common types of sun damage to the skin are:
- Dry skin- Sun-exposed skin can gradually lose moisture and essential oils, making it appear dry, flaky and prematurely wrinkles, even in younger people.
- Sunburn- Sunburn is the common name for the skin injury that appears immediately after the skin is exposed to UV radiation. Mild sunburn causes only painful reddening of the skin, but more severe cases can produce tiny fluid-filled bumps (vesicles) or larger blisters.
- Actinic keratosis- This is a tiny bump that feels like sandpaper or a small, scaly patch of sun-damaged skin that has a pink, red, yellow, or brownish tint. Unlike suntan marking or sunburns, an actinic keratosis does not usually go away unless it is frozen, chemically treated or removed by a doctor. An actinic keratosis develops in areas of skin that have undergone repeated or long-term exposure to the sun’s UV light, and it is a warning sign of increased risk of skin cancer. About 10% to 15% of actinic keratoses eventually change into squamous cell cancers of the skin.
Source: Harvard Health