If you think UV damage isn't happening to your skin every time you step outside, here are a few photos of the silent damage the sun can do over time that will convince you to grab the nearest bottle of sunscreen.
With sun damage, it's all about what you can't see. On the left is the face of a woman with generally youthful, healthy skin. At first glance you wouldn't think she had any significant damage at all, but for those of us who see skin cancer patients regularly we know that appearances can be quite deceiving. When this person was photographed under the ultraviolet spectrum only, her skin immediately showed significant signs of UV damage, and you can clearly see areas that are more prone to sun exposure as the most affected areas of her skin.
For such pictures a special camera, or a regular camera with a filter, will capture UV light instead of visible light, exposing damage under the top layer of skin. Bruises, sun spots, freckles and other pigmentation all become apparent, and could be helpful in detecting age spots before they appear. Damage like in this photo above could be an indicator of premature aging and skin laxity. But for patients who already have fair skin types I and II, photos like this can sometimes be helpful in providing warning signs to areas that could mutate into skin cancer.
PROLONGED LIFETIME EXPOSURE
If the stark contrast between this woman's older, sun damaged skin and the young child's healthier skin doesn't catch your attention, then perhaps the sagging skin will. Prolonged exposure to the sun without any protection not only increases your chances of skin cancer, but it also strips away everything that makes your skin look and work like it's supposed to.
Elastin and collagen are two proteins in the skin that deteriorate, not only due to the natural aging process, but also because of external factors over time. UV radiation speeds up the breakdown of collagen and elastin in your skin at an accelerated rate, leaving you with laxity and sagging long before it should be. Wrinkles will start to appear as a result, and once damage this severe is done it can be very difficult to reverse. There are skin tightening and lifting procedures that could make a difference for certain mild cases, but this individual may have had better luck with proactively preventing it with sunscreen, shade, and a little extra protection from harmful rays. And even if skin cancer doesn't occur, why wouldn't you want to protect your skin from losing its suppleness?
This photo is popularly known as a truck driver who spent decades on the road traveling, and—you guessed it—not wearing sunscreen. This photo is the entire reason why you should wear sunscreen every single day. This includes cloudy days, days when you're just planning on running errands in the car, and days when you'll be outside briefly throughout the day.
When referring to sun damage, most of us think of very specific times when we should wear SPF like going to the beach, spending time by the pool, playing tennis, riding a bike, going for a walk, and other outdoor activities. And most of us rarely think that the time we spend in the car is doing any damage. But from this photo, we can clearly see that it does. Each and every day, you are exposing your skin to UV radiation. And while small amounts of it here and there are fine (we actually recommend a tiny amount of it on your body in order to boost vitamin D production), it can cause damage like this when you skip it every day.
For more information about sunscreen and UV damage, please contact our office at 561-805-9399 for recommendations on SPFs and treatments that can reverse UV damage and spot potential skin cancers before they become serious. And to pick up a sunscreen, visit us at SupriyaMDSkincare.com and grab one of our two go-to SPFs.