Part of the sun’s energy that reaches earth is composed of rays of invisible ultraviolet (UV) light. When ultraviolet light rays (UVA and UVB) enter the skin, they inflict both visible and invisible damage to the skin cells.
Sunburn is a visible type of damage, which appears just a few hours after sun exposure. In many people, this type of damage also causes tanning. Freckles, which occur in people with fair skin, are usually due to sun exposure. Freckles are nearly always a sign that sun damage has occurred, and therefore show the need for sun protection.
Of the invisible damage to skin cells, some is repaired but some adds up year after year. After 20 to 30 years or more, the built-up damage appears as wrinkles and age spots. Although window glass blocks UVB light, UVA rays are able to pass through it.
Sun exposure during youth is a risk factor for certain skin cancers, including melanoma. Chronic sun exposure is also associated with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and basal cell carcinoma (BCC). Severe burns, especially those that blister, increase the risk. Susceptible persons (light skinned, easily burned) playing or working outside in strong sunlight should be protected by clothing or sunscreen.
Conditions that suggest Sun Damage/Overexposure
Risk factors for Sun Damage/Overexposure
High recent sun exposure
Sun Damage/Overexposure can lead to
Recommendations for Sun Damage/Overexposure
Drinking four or more cups of green tea each day may help stave off skin cancer. This substance could be similarly effective if incorporated into skin care creams, but the quantity and consistency of EGCG (active compound found in green tea) should be questioned.
|Weak or unproven link|
|Strong or generally accepted link|
|May do some good|
Also called "liver spots", these are flat, brown areas usually found on the face, hands, back and feet. They vary in size from 1/8 of an inch to several inches (0.3cm to several cm) and are associated with aging, but long-term sun exposure is also a major cause.
A life-threatening type of skin cancer that occurs in the cells (melanocytes) that produce melanin, the pigment found in skin, hair, and the iris of the eyes.
Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.
Malignant growth of epithelial cells tending to infiltrate the surrounding tissue and giving rise to metastasis.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma.
Basal Cell Carcinoma.