Skin cancer: The dangers of too much sun exposure

sun negatively affect your skin’s health leads to skin cancer

Sunshine is essential to life on Earth, but its invisible ultraviolet (UV) light is a serious threat to healthy skin. This causes your skin to burn, tan, wrinkle, and in the worst case scenario, develop skin cancer.

Damage caused by the sun

Regular exposure to the sun’s rays, whether purposefully or unintentionally, will damage your skin. The effects are worse in people who have little melanin in their skin, as melanin is a natural protectant against the sun. People with darker skin are at a lesser risk of damaging their skin under the same intensity and time of sun exposure compared to people with lighter skin, but this doesn’t mean they are completely safe from its effects.

The UV energy in sunlight causes skin damage that leads to red or brown skin blemishes. These are evident as unwanted freckles or sunspots that are most commonly found on the chest, shoulders and upper back, and on the back of the hands. Sunshine also toughens the skin over time, causing a leathery feel to areas that are regularly exposed.

Sun exposure also ages the skin and causes premature wrinkles. This is due to free radicals that reduce your skin’s ability to properly regenerate. Additionally, bright outdoor light can cause you to squint. Over time this leads to the permanent horizontal lines that branch out from your eyes. Wearing sunglasses with proper UV protection not only minimizes squinting, but protects your vision too.

Skin cancer risks

Over exposure to UV light is a major risk factor for developing skin cancer. There are several different kinds of skin cancer, but melanoma is the deadliest. This form is dangerous because it has a tendency to spread to the lymphatic system, which is connected to the entire body; the cancerous skin cells can then easily spread to other organs and tissues in your body.

As with any cancer, the chance of a successful recovery has much to do with how far it has progressed and whether the cancer is benign or malignant.

How is skin cancer detected?

Skin cancer is often first noticed by patients who report discoloration or an unusual texture on their skin. Or, during an unrelated medical exam, a patient’s doctor notices an oddity in the skin that prompts further investigation.

To determine if a patient has skin cancer or precancerous lesions, a skin specialist performs a full body check. He or she will look for moles that are flat with irregular borders, non-symmetrical in shape, or even nodular. They will also look for discolored lesions that are black, reddish-blue, or dark brown. Other irregularities include patches of skin that are scaly, waxy, red, or bumpy.

A biopsy is the next step. The doctor takes a small tissue sample of the area in question and sends it to a lab to be tested. A certified-board dermatopathologist determines if there is an issue and whether it is cancer, a disease, or some other skin condition. The sample will also be diagnosed as benign or malignant.

Early screenings are the best way to increase your chances of surviving skin cancer, since early detection often makes the treatment less complex and the recovery shorter.

The best preventative measures against the unwanted effects of the sun are to cover up exposed skin. Wear long sleeved shirts, long pants, wide brimmed hats, and a pair of sunglasses. Invest in a bottle of sun block that is 30 SPF or higher and apply an adequate amount, for example, one teaspoonful amount for the entire face, to exposed areas at least 30 minutes before UV exposure, and repeat every few hours.

By Dr . Nussra Wongrattanapasson , Dermatologist, Skin Center, Bumrungrad Hospital
I would like to learn more about Skin Cancer: Ask us a question
I would like to make an appointment with a Dermatologist at the Skin Center: Make an appointment

Posted by Bumrungrad International
Related posts:
Brain Tumor10 Incredible Facts about the Human Heart4 Ways to Love Your Heart This Valentine's DayA Beginner's Guide to Thailand's Healthy VegetablesAll about Sties: What You Need to Know Anemia: The Loss of Red Blood CellsBreaking Down HepatitisBreast Cancer Treatment OptionsCan Too Much Sunlight Damage Your Eyes?Colonoscopies Don’t Have to Be ScaryDa Vinci revolutionizes Prostate-Kidney Cancer SurgeriesDengue Hemorrhagic Fever in ChildrenDetecting Lung Cancer Earlier than EverFatty Liver: The Silent KillerFrom Minor Ailments to Major Diseases: How You May Be Suffering From Big City Air PollutionGive the Gift of Life: How You Can Help During World Blood Donor DayHow a Doctor Detects Breast CancerHow Thailand's Smoky Season May Be Taking a Toll on Your HealthIf Left Untreated, Uveitis Can Cause BlindnessIs Prenatal Testing Right For Me?Is Thailand's Medical Tourism Right for Me?Ladies, It's Time for Your Annual Woman's Wellness Check-UpLung Cancer Screening With Low-Dose CTMedical Checkups Promote HealthMendeteksi Kanker Paru-paru Lebih DiniMengapa Sangatlah Penting Mengetahui Golongan Darah AndaMenopauseMy Child Is ShortNon-communicable Diseases (NCDs)… Diseases Caused by Lifestyle and BehaviorPilihan Pengobatan untuk Kanker ProstatRaising Awareness on World Cancer DaySigns You Are Suffering from GERDThe 4 Risk Factors and 5 Ways to Prevent Liver CancerThe Dangers of Social SmokingThe Future of Medicine is Already at BumrungradThe Heat is On! How to Enjoy the Thailand Summer While Avoiding HeatstrokeThe Truth About SuperfoodsTreating Prostate Cancer with Radiation TherapyTreatment Options for Prostate CancerWhat Is IBD or Inflammatory Bowel Disease?What Women Need to Know About Uterine CancerWhy It’s Important to Know Your Blood TypeYour Body After You Quit Smokingเนื้องอกในสมองนำไปสู่มะเร็งสมองเรื่องน่ารู้เกี่ยวกับ “วัยทอง”เลิกบุหรี่ให้ได้ผล...แบบลาขาดไขความลับ.....โรคมะเร็งกับรังสีรักษาไขมันพอกตับ ภัยเงียบที่ไม่รู้ตัวกลุ่มโรคไม่ติดต่อ (NCDs)...โรคที่เกิดจากพฤติกรรมการรักษามะเร็งต่อมลูกหมากด้วยวิธีรังสีรักษาดูแลตัวเองอย่างไร...หลังการใช้รังสีรักษาโรคมะเร็ง?ตรวจคัดกรองมะเร็งปอดด้วย low-dose CTทางเลือกในการรักษามะเร็งต่อมลูกหมากทำไมคุณจำเป็นต้องรู้หมู่เลือดของตัวเองมะเร็งปอด ตรวจคัดกรองได้ก่อนสายเกินไปมะเร็งมดลูก...อีกหนึ่งมะเร็งของผู้หญิงที่ควรรู้จักร่างกายของคุณจะเป็นอย่างไรหลังจากเลิกสูบบุหรี่รู้ลึกวิธีการรักษามะเร็งเต้านมหุ่นยนต์ช่วยผ่าตัดรักษามะเร็งต่อมลูกหมาก (da Vinci Robot)