In April’s first blog we got into some of the history of our love affair with the sun. From celebrated tan lines to freckle faces, everyone wanted to show off their tanned skin.
All the while, the clock was ticking, and sun damage was accumulating. Not that any of us knew that back in the 60s and 70s. Today, if you’re over 50 or 60, you’re showing the effects of that universal lack of understanding of how the sun was damaging our skin.
In this second April blog at Romeo & Juliette, let’s get into just what it was doing.
What Is Sun Damage?
It’s easy to think of sun damage as only when you get a sunburn. That’s a more immediate form of damage. Yes, it will come due years later as radiation exposure builds, but you don’t think of it that way.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes DNA changes in the skin. There are two forms of UV radiation. UVB is the radiation that causes immediate sunburns. UVB radiation irradiates the outer layer of the skin. This leads to sun damage in the epidermis and over time the formation of actinic keratoses (pre-cancerous growths). Sunscreens were originally made only to protect against UVB rays.
But UVA radiation could be more harmful. It penetrates through the epidermis down into the dermis layer beneath. There it can break down collagen and elastin fibers, causing skin to sag. It can burst tiny blood vessels (capillaries) especially on the cheeks and nose. Plus, it’s thought that UVA radiation is the trigger for the eventual development of melanoma. UVA radiation was an unknown until maybe 20 years ago. Now that’s what “broad spectrum” sunscreen means, UVB and UVA radiation.
If you want to see the difference in how the sun ages your skin, look at two areas of your skin. One should have been covered all or most of the time. The other should have received constant sun exposure.
Here’s what the sun exposed skin will feature:
- Area of pigmentation
- Loss of skin elasticity and tone
- Rough, uneven skin texture
- Broken capillaries
- Redness and blotchiness
This summer, try and take care of your skin when out on Long Island or over at the Shore. And to get rid of that unwanted hair beforehand, call us at Romeo & Juliette Laser Hair Removal, (212) 750-2000.