Effects of sunlight on your skin
Both the UVA (U-V-A) and UVB (U-V-B) portions of sunlight contribute to
photoaging, or premature aging caused by UV (U-V) light. It's generally
believed that most wrinkles that appear before age 50 are due to sun
exposure. This occurs because UV light disrupts the fibers known as
collagen (CAWL-uh-jihn) and elastin (eh-LASS-tihn) that lend support
and elasticity to the skin.
In response, your skin produces special
enzymes in an effort to reshape the collagen and repair the damage.
However, the new collagen fibers are laid down in uneven patterns. When
this process happens over and over, the malformed collagen leads to
Sun damage also contributes to age spots, freckling, and
rough, scaly lesions known as actinic keratoses (ac-TIHN-ihk
kehr-ah-TOH-seez). Of even greater concern is sunlight's role in
causing skin cancer. Though experts disagree on the exact relationship
between UV light and skin cancer, it's known to be a major risk factor,
probably because it causes genetic mutations within skin cells. Sun
damage is cumulative, meaning that it adds up over time. Therefore,
it's important to protect your skin every day, even when you're just
going out for a few minutes.