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Home: Diseases & Conditions: Sun Damage: How Sun Damages?

Sun Damage: How Sun Damages?

How Does The Sun Cause Damage?

The major long term effects of sun exposure are

1. Photoaging
2. Photocarcinogenesis

Photoaging refers to the aging effects of sun on human body. The effects are not only in appearance but the skin actually degenerates at a premature stage -something like fast aging. Why does skin age because of UVR?

With the advancement of free radicals (FR) research, it is now hypothesized that skin disorders due to solar radiation occur because of increased formation of reactive FRs, and impairment of antioxidant system of skin. FRs play an important role in premature aging.

FRs induced damage, results in-

  • Degeneration of collagen and connective tissue.
  • Fragmentation of elastin.
  • Loss of structural and functional integrity of cells of the skin.

How does Sun damaged skin look?

The major long term effects of sun exposure are the sun damaged skin shows dryness, fine lines or wrinkles, roughness and pigmented spots in its mild forms. The moderate damage is manifested by deep wrinkles, laxity and leathery appearance, while in its worst form, the severe damage results in solar keratoses- warty outgrowths on skin and skin cancers.

The other major and worrying long term effect of sun on human skin is-

Photocarcinogenesis- UV induced cancer development.

The role of exposure to direct sunlight in the development of common cancerous conditions of skin is well known. A large number of them are caused by UVB radiation. Actinic keratoses (Precancerous conditions), squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma are some of the types of cancers associated with prolonged UV exposure.

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