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Starlight, Star Bright...
Home Health & Fitness Beauty
By: Barry Lycka Email Article
Word Count: 1075 Digg it | it | Google it | StumbleUpon it


With the long, cold winter behind us, many people start shedding their clothes. But what people don't realize is that this is the wrong thing to do. Why? The sun poses many threats - above and beyond being burned.

1. Sunburn

It's important to understand how sun exposure can burn your skin. Wikipedia explains: "UV radiation is divided into the UVA, UVB and UVC sub-bands. Ozone in the Earth's atmosphere filters out a portion of this before it reaches the planet's surface. UVC is almost entirely eliminated by the atmosphere, but enough UVA and UVB penetrates it in large enough quantities that sunburn can occur in less than 15 minutes. Nevertheless, the inflicted harm is often not immediately obvious." A first-degree sunburn can be painful and typically turns the skin pink or red. Severe sunburns, or second-degree burns, cause blistering and swelling of the skin, and will begin to peel three to eight days after exposure. Each blistering sunburn doubles the risk of developing skin cancer later in life.

Here are some helpful tips on treating a sunburn: *Apply a moisturizer with aloe three times a day * Drink a lot of fluids to prevent dehydration * Take a cool (not cold) bath and apply cool compresses to help alleviate discomfort *Ibuprofen may reduce swelling, pain and discomfort * Products containing Acetaminophen may also help reduce pain and discomfort * An antibiotic cream may be applied to broken blisters to prevent possible infection * Ointments, Vaseline® and butter should not be applied to sunburns. These products are painful to remove and prevent heat from escaping the burned area.

2. Premature Aging

"Photoaging" is the term dermatologists use to describe the aging of the skin caused by exposure to the sun's rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, just a few minutes of sun exposure each day over the years can cause noticeable changes to the skin. "Photoaging occurs over a period of years. With more and more exposure to the sun, something very significant happens. The skin never forgets, just like an elephant. And with each insult, it loses its ability to repair itself, and damage accumulates. Scientific studies have shown that repeated ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen. The sun does not only do this - it also attacks the elasti fiber of the skin. Sun-weakened skin ceases to spring back much earlier than skin protected from UV rays. Skin also becomes loose, wrinkled, and leathery much earlier with unprotected exposure to sunlight." This process will also multiply and increase the size of wrinkles.

3. Brown/Liver/Age Spots

Part of the photoaging process includes liver spots (which have nothing to do with the liver), or age spots. These dark spots usually have rounded edges and look like large freckles and tend to appear on people in their 40's and older. Age spots are not considered to be cancerous or pre-cancerous; although if you notice an age spot with uneven edges, consult your doctor for further examination.

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Dr. Barry Lycka is one of North America's foremost authorities on cosmetic, skin cancer, reconstructive and laser surgery of the skin. He is ajuthor of restoring youth ( ) and a major contributor to .

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