The sun is the cause of 80% of skin wrinkles.

Dr. Lorena Barboza. dermatologist

I am Dr. Lorena Barboza, a dermatologist and I work at the Corium Dermatology clinic and at the Hospital Clínic de Barcelona.

Next I am going to explain one of the issues that most worries us when exposing our skin to the sun; the appearance of wrinkles and the well-known Photoaging.

Beneficial and harmful effects of the sun on our skin

The sun has beneficial effects for people. It is essential for the correct absorption of Vitamin D and to fix calcium in our bones, it also improves mood through the production of endorphins; however, to obtain these benefits we only need to expose ourselves 2-3 days a week, between 5-30 min, depending on the phototype (color) of the skin, and around 20% of our body surface (arms and/or legs for example)o)

But in large doses, the effects of Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are harmful to the skin both in the short and medium term. One of the most visible effects is the premature aging of the skin and the appearance of wrinkles, also called photoaging. When solar radiation passes through our skin, free radicals are generated that alter essential elements of our skin such as collagen and elastin fibers, causing thinning of the skin, loss of volume and elasticity.

an i shocking real case of photoaging in a part of the face In this photograph, we can see how a 69-year-old truck driver who for 28 years has received radiation from the sun through the window in the middle of his face, has clearly older skin in this part.

This case has been published by the England Journal of Medicine as an example of so-called unilateral dermatoheliosis.

My tips to prepare your skin before, during and after sun exposure

  1. Before a sun exposure it is very important that p repair your skin well to solar radiation. For this reason, it is necessary that about 30 minutes before exposing yourself, you apply a sunscreen. Spread the protector all over the body (eye with the feet, the nape of the neck, the lips, the ears or the neckline) until the product has perfectly penetrated all of your skin. Ideally, the protector should have 50+ protection against UVA, UVB and HVE (blue light)
  2. When you are already sunbathing or your skin is exposed, you see repeating at least every 2 hours, the application of the photoprotector. Remember that the hours from 11:00-16:00 are the worst since ultraviolet rays are more dangerous for your skin. I recommend that you avoid direct sun exposure, and look for shade, although you must remember that even if you are in the shade you must apply photoprotector. It is advisable that you take water or fruit with you to help prevent dehydration, as well as being able to cover yourself with some type of hat or visor. As for children, I also recommend that their skin be protected with clothing with UPF 50+ (t-shirt, swimsuit, hat
  3. Once the sun exposure is over and your skin is clean and dry again, I recommend apply a moisturizing cream to avoid redness or burns. This step is also very important in children and older people.

Masderm 's sunscreenSunmas Proaging Cream 50+ It is a very good option to protect, care for and hydrate your skin from solar and digital rays. Its natural ingredients maximize the effectiveness of its application and it is also absorbed quickly, has a light and non-greasy texture without leaving the skin with white residue.

6 negative effects on the skin after sun exposure

  1. Sun spots.The skin reacts to sun exposure, stimulating the creation of a dark pigment called melanin, which gives rise to natural protection against the sun and what we know as tanned skin. But when the creation of melanin is uncontrolled and uneven, different types of spots appear on the skin, including melasma (mask of pregnancy) or gouty or guttate hypomelanosis (small scattered white spots on legs and arms).).
  2. Sun allergy. Solar allergy is a set of skin reactions such as: Redness, swelling, itching and red spots that appear on the chest, shoulders, arms and legs. This reaction is known as polymorphous light eruption. If you suffer from this type of reaction when exposed to the sun, it is important to adopt good practices such as wearing a hat, sunglasses and clothing that covers the most exposed parts
  3. Sun burn. UV rays can alter the chemical bonds of our DNA which triggers an inflammatory process in the deep layers of the skin. The blood vessels dilate, the skin reddens, the nerve fibers become sensitized, appearing sensitivity and pain. It is considered that a first degree burn on the skin is equivalent to a sunburn. It is very important to remember that the skin has a memory and accumulates the negative effects of sunburn over time, increasing up to 80% the possibility of skin cancerel
  4. Acne caused by the sun. There is a belief that the sun dries out oily skin and improves acne, but that is only true in the short term. A rebound effect will appear after a few days, the sun can produce an increase in the production of keratin and follicular plugging (comedones) in addition to causing an imbalance in your protective bacterial flora of the skin (microbiome and microbiota), increasing harmful bacteria and it can trigger an inflammatory response in your skin, favoring the mechanisms that produce acne.é.
  5. Photosensitivity. Some medications such as doxycycline (antibiotic), isotretinoin (medication for severe acne) and certain anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen, cause the skin to become very sensitive to the sun with reactions very similar to sunburn.
  6. Cold sores caused by the sun. UV rays reduce the activity of white blood cells, which are those immune cells that protect us from some viruses such as cold sores. If you frequently suffer from herpes simplex, it is important that you use lip protectors with sunscreens

Risk of skin cancer after prolonged sun exposure

In Spain, 4,000 new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year and the risk of developing skin cancer is 1/1001. Our way of life has changed in recent years: Longer vacations and in sunnier destinations, outdoor activities and artificial tanning. which explains the increase in the number of skin cancers.el.

There are several types of sun-related skin cancers, the most common of which are:

Basal cell carcinoma

Basal cell carcinoma or "rodent ulcer" is the most common type of skin cancer. It usually appears in older people who have been exposed considerably to the sun over the years. The good news is that basal cell carcinoma has a very high chance of a complete recovery, because it is slow growing and does not tend to spread to other parts of the body, as is the case with other cancers. Treatment is by surgical removal of the lesion or with treatments such as topical chemotherapy, laser, liquid nitrogen.

Squamous or squamous cell carcinoma

It is the second in frequency, and is characterized by lesions with keratin / scales, and would be the progression of actinic keratoses. As well as the previous one, it is more frequent in photo-exposed areas and in the lips (mouth). In most cases, surgical removal is sufficient, but in more severe cases, removal of affected lymph nodes or radiotherapy may be necessary.


Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and can develop at any age. It is more common in people with lighter phototypes and people with many moles, although anyone can get melanoma. It is a cancer in the pigment-producing cells of the skin, the melanocytes. Sometimes, it takes the form of a mole. To detect it, we suggest you follow the ABCDE rule. If you want to know more about the ABCDE rule and melanoma, click HERE

  • A for asymmetric;
  • B jagged edges;
  • C for Different Colors;
  • D diameter of more than 6 mm;
  • E for evolution.

The prognosis of melanoma depends on the size of the tumor, its thickness and whether the skin that covers it has broken/ulcerated. If it is detected early, the prognosis is usually favourable. The first step in the treatment of melanoma is the removal of the tumor and the verification of the spread of the disease, with the analysis of the melanoma, the most appropriate treatment is decided, such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and "biological" treatments (antibodies directed ).

Frequent questions

¿What is SPF?

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) classifies the effectiveness of a sunscreen in blocking UVB rays. For optimal protection against UVB rays, dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with SPF 30+ or SPF 50+. EU-approved broad-spectrum sunscreens also provide protection against UVA rays and will include the word "UVA" inside a circle on their packaging. Make sure your sunscreen protects you from even the longest UVA rays.

¿What is the difference between UVA and UVB rays??

There are different types of ultraviolet radiation. UVB rays provide a visible tan and also cause sunburn. On the other hand, UVA rays are an invisible threat because you don't notice their effects right away, but in the long term, UVA rays cause skin aging. UVA and UVB rays are the main suspects in causing many skin cancers.

¿What exactly does a sunscreen do??

Sunscreens contain sunscreens that absorb the energy of UV rays to prevent them from penetrating the skin and causing damage. The packaging indicates the SPF (Sun Protection Factor), dermatologists recommend an SPF 50+ to guarantee maximum protection against the sun's rays

¿What is blue light and how does it affect me??

There are many sets of radiation around us, some of which we do not see (such as radio waves) and others are visible (such as light). Light is a small part of visible radiation. It has been shown that excess blue light causes tiredness, eyestrain and medium-term aging of our skin.

¿Clouds or glass protect from the sun?

No, even if the day is cloudy or rainy, the skin is exposed to UV rays, which cause photoaging to appear gradually. The crystals also do not protect from the sun. To fully protect your skin, use sunscreen daily.

¿what to remember?

The sun is the main cause of skin aging Protect your skin every day of the year with a sunscreen 50+ Frequently check the spots to avoid skin cancer and visit the dermatologist once a year

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