The summer sun beckons many people outdoors. Soaking up some rays on a warm summer day can be a great way to unwind and get a little color.
It's not always easy to recognize signs of sun damage when spending time outdoors in the summer, especially for people who lay out in the sun hoping to get a tan. Such damage may be overlooked or more evident in the fall, when people begin spending more time indoors. But sun-damaged skin should not be taken lightly. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation notes that the vast majority of melanomas, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, are caused by the sun. The SCF even notes that one study from researchers in the United Kingdom found that 86 percent of melanomas can be attributed to exposure to the ultraviolet, or UV, radiation from the sun.
Sun-damaged skin will not necessarily lead to skin cancer. However, the American Academy of Dermatology notes that sun damage can lead to skin cancer. Going outdoors without adequate protection makes skin vulnerable to sun-related damage. Learning to recognize three of the more common types of sun damage may compel people visit their physicians and take potentially life-saving steps to prevent future damage.
Wrinkles aren't always a byproduct of aging. While the Mayo Clinic notes that skin becomes less elastic and more fragile as it ages, increasing the likelihood that wrinkles will develop, wrinkles also can indicate sun-damaged skin.
According to the AAD, age spots, which are flat brown, gray or black spots on the skin, appear on areas of the body that are most often exposed to the sun, including the face and hands. The AAD notes that what looks like an age spot could actually be skin cancer. If any such spots are detected, men and women should see a board-certified dermatologist for a through skin exam.
Loose skin is sometimes a byproduct of aging, but it also can be indicative of sun damage. Various products claim to treat loose skin, but the AAD notes that facelift-like results likely won't come from any product sold in a jar. For example, the AAD says results from skin-firming creams will be subtle at best. Products that contain a retinoid like retinol, which can help the body make more collagen, might produce minor results.
Sun-related skin damage can affect peoples' appearance and even suggest the presence of something more serious, such as skin cancer. Learn more by visiting the American Academy of Dermatology at www.aad.org.