What you need to know about sun damaged skin

Plus: Why not all sunscreens are created equal.

Applying sunscreen before leaving to spend time outdoors could be as common-place as brushing one’s hair or remembering to pick up your wallet and keys. Unfortunately, often it’s not, and this simple oversight leads to many new cases of skin cancer and other cases of sun damaged skin each year.

June is National Cancer Survivors Month and also Men’s Health/Cancer Awareness Month. DermSurgery Associates supports these efforts to bring important – and often lifesaving – education to the public. How problematic is skin cancer?

According to SkinCancer.org:

  • 5.4 million cases of non-melanoma skin cancer are treated in the U.S. each year
  • Skin cancer is more prevalent than prostate, breast, lung and colon cancers combined
  • Going back 30 years, there have been more cases of skin cancer than all other cancers combined
  • One out of every five Americans will develop skin cancer
  • Up to half of Americans 65 and older will develop either basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma
  • Estimates say that in 2017, more than 87,000 new cases of invasive melanoma will be diagnosed, leading to one death per hour

These and many other statistics point to the need for us to be very aware of how we spend time in the sun and the protection we provide for ourselves. When it comes to sun damaged skin that can lead to skin cancer, individuals can easily create a barrier of protection with a good broad-spectrum sunscreen.

How sunscreen helps prevent sun damaged skin

The sun emits two forms of ultraviolet light that can have an adverse effect on your skin: UV-A and UV-B. Sunburn is caused only by UV-B rays, which can be effectively blocked by any sunscreen that includes a sun protection factor (SPF). The higher the SPF number, the longer you can (theoretically) remain in the sun without burning.

UV-A rays, on the other hand, are known to create wrinkling, sagging, leathering and other premature aging symptoms in the skin. But worse, this type of ultraviolet ray is known to cause skin cancer. To protect against UV-A rays, you need a sunscreen that’s specifically labeled “broad-spectrum.” The SPF number is not a factor in preventing serious skin damage and skin cancer.

Is it too late to repair sun damaged skin?

Regardless of the type of skin damage the sun has caused, there are treatments available that will restore your skin, or at least bring about significant repair.

DermSurgery Associates provides a variety of procedures to address various sun damage symptoms such as:

  • Wrinkles
  • Sagging
  • Redness
  • Brown spots
  • Busted capillaries
  • Pre-cancerous skin lesions
  • Cancerous lesions including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer

If you believe your skin has been damaged from exposure to the sun, make an appointment with one of our dermatologists today. While wrinkled and prematurely aging skin isn’t necessarily a threat to your health, it is unsightly and can be improved through the proper therapeutic procedures. Suspected skin cancer, on the other hand, must be examined right away. And remember – it’s impossible to know if those spots are cancerous until the correct tests are performed.

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DermSurgery Associates is a Greater Houston area dermatology practice offering cosmetic, surgical and non-invasive dermatology treatments and procedures with industry-leading physicians trained and experienced with the most current dermatology technologies and procedures. For more information, contact

DermSurgery Associates
7515 Main, Suite 240
Houston, TX 77030
Ph: 713.791.9966

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