Do You Know the Signs of Excessive Sun Exposure?

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Summertime is in full swing here in Northeast Florida, which means locals and visitors alike are headed to the beaches, the pools and the golf courses in droves. With a near year-round warm climate and a vast array of options for fun under the sun, we're an outdoor-loving community. But while the fresh air and exercise you'll get during and outdoors excursion are no doubt good for the body and soul, there's also an ever-present danger - sun exposure.

Over exposure to the sun's damaging UV rays can lead to a myriad of health and beauty issues such as cellular damage, early wrinkling, age spots, actinic keratoses, and skin cancer, including melanoma, the leading cause of death from skin disease. Unfortunately, many people either are unaware of the signs of sun over-exposure or simply fail to take them as seriously as they should. Do you know the signs?

  • Sun tan: That beautiful bronzed glow actually is the result of injury to the skin's upper layer that can accelerate aging and boost your risk for developing skin cancer. Don't be among the many who erroneously believe that a mild "base" tan can be healthy (the "Vitamin D argument") and protect you from sunburn the next time you're in the sun for hours. Truth is, UV damage to your skin can happen in mere minutes and cause a cumulative effect, accelerating aging and boosting cancer risk. 
  • Sunburn: Sunburns typically are either first- or second-degree burns. First-degree sunburns result in redness of the skin, heat to the touch and mild pain that goes away in a few days. But that blistered, lobster-red look is actually a second-degree burn that may require medical treatment. 
  • Wrinkles: Over time, the Sun's UV rays can cause a breakdown of elastin, the fibers of the skin that hold it taught and smooth. In fact, more than 80 percent of the signs of aging in adult skin is a direct, cumulative result of the tans they had before age 18. 
  • Changes in skin tone: Those differing patches of dark and light skin are a result of the sun's effect on the skin's pigmentation. If you notice a persistent redness in your skin, that could be sun damage to your small blood vessels and, unfortunately, it's permanent. 
  • Freckles: They're cute, for sure. And while they'll increase in number with continued sun exposure, actual freckles pose no health risk. But if one among them changes in size, shape or color or becomes painful, it may not be a freckle at all, but instead an early cancer. 
  • Farmer's lip: That persistent dryness and cracking of the lips, often called "farmer's lip" won't go away with a little ChapStick. It's actually a precancerous condition called actinic cheilitis. Though less common, other signs of the condition may include swelling, loss of the sharp border between the lip and skin, and prominent lip lines.
  • Cataracts: Though often considered an inevitable sign of aging, cataracts can have a variety of causes, including sun exposure. A cataract is a cloudy area in the lens of the eye can cause vision problems, including a persistent fogginess or double vision in one eye.

Call 904-461-6797 to schedule an appointment with a skincare specialist at St. Augustine's Avanti Medical Spa today.