We all want to stay youthful and healthy, avoiding the wrinkles and ailments that can arise as we live our lives. We want to maintain beautiful skin, turning to cosmetic treatments like Laser Skin Tightening and BOTOX® to improve our complexion. Many of us also want that sunkissed skin, but while sun exposure is a great way to get your Vitamin D, too much can be detrimental to our health.

Excessive exposure to UV rays can lead to wrinkles, dry skin and even cancers. It’s important to understand how the sun affects our skin if we want to avoid these conditions.Here are a few tips to help you learn more about how sun exposure can damage skin and a few of the most common problems caused by it.

The Basics of Sun Damage

Sun can damage your skin in a number of ways, from increasing the appearance of age (wrinkles, discolouration, etc.) to the creation of skin cancers. To understand how the sun can cause damage, we should first look at the makeup of the skin itself. Our skin is composed of three layers — the epidermis (outermost layer), the dermis (the middle layer) and the subcutaneous (or innermost layer). The elastin and collagen fibres, present in these layers, are responsible for the skin’s elasticity and plumpness and their alteration or damage can cause problems.

Skin Wrinkles and Aging

UV radiation can cause the collagen in the dermis to quickly break down, accelerating the natural wearing that occurs with aging. Collagen fibres are damaged from excessive sunlight and overexposure to solar rays can also lead to the build-up of abnormal elastin. When this abnormal elastin build-up accumulates, metalloproteinases enzymes are created by the body in large quantities. Normal metalloproteinases enzymes manufacture and restore collagen but sun-induced enzymes can actually break the collagen down instead. This effect leads to disorganized collagen fibres that create wrinkles and skin changes known as “solar scars”.

Appearance Changes in the Skin

One of the skin appearance changing conditions that can be caused by UV radiation is the appearance of tiny blood vessels on the face known as telangiectasias. These arise from the blood vessel walls becoming thinner through sun exposure, allowing for excessive bruising pigment changes. Thickening and thinning can also occur due to excessive UV exposure. This skin condition results in appearance changes that include coarse wrinkles and yellow discolouration (with skin thickening) and easy bruising, fine wrinkles and skin tearing (with skin thinning).To avoid these conditions (and other serious ailments) caused by sun exposure, it’s important to be mindful of your time outdoors.

Always take precautions against UV rays to lessen the effects of sun-induced skin conditions and disorders and be mindful of the harmful effects the sun can have on your body.