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

Dr. Lorena Barboza. dermatologist

I am Dr. Lorena Barboza, Dermatologist and I work at the Corium Dermatology clinic and at the Hospital Clínic in Barcelona.

Next I am going to explain one of the issues that worries us the most when it comes to 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, likewise it improves the mood due to 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 per example)o)

But in large doses, the effects of Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun are harmful to the skin in both 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 skin thinning, loss of volume and elasticity.

an iShocking real case of photoaging on part of the face In this photograph, we can see how a 69-year-old truck driver who for 28 years has received the sun's radiation through the window on 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 the so-called unilateral dermatoheliosis.

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

  1. Before sun exposure it is very important that prepair 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 to toe, neck, lips, ears or 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 photoprotector. Remember that the hours from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 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 should apply sunscreen. It is advisable that you take water or fruit with you to help avoid dehydration, as well as being able to cover yourself with some type of hat or visor is essential. As for children, I also recommend that their skin be protected with clothing with UPF 50+ (t-shirt, swimsuit, hat
  3. Once sun exposure is over and your skin is clean and dry again, I recommend apply a moisturizer to avoid redness or burns. This step is also very important for children and the elderly.

Masderm sunscreen Sunmas SPF50 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 quickly absorbed, it has a light and non-greasy texture without leaving the skin with white remains.

6 negative effects on the skin after sun exposure

  1. Spots caused by the sun. 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 guttate hypomelanosis (small white spots scattered on legs and arms).).
  2. Sun allergy. Sun 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 a polymorphous light eruption. If you suffer from this type of reaction when you are 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 disrupt the chemical bonds in our DNA, triggering an inflammatory process in the deep layers of the skin. The blood vessels dilate, the skin reddens, the nerve fibers become sensitized, resulting in 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 memory and accumulates the negative effects of sunburn over time, increasing up to 80% the chance of getting skin cancerel
  4. Acne caused by the sun. There is a belief that the sun dries up 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 cause 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 cause acne.é.
  5. photosensitivity. Some medications such as doxycline (antibiotic), isotretinoin (medicine 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 balms with sunscreens

Risk of skin cancer after prolonged exposure to the sun

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 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, of which the most frequent 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 to considerable 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 through surgical removal of the lesion or with treatments such as topical chemotherapy, laser, liquid nitrogen.

Squamous or squamous cell carcinoma

It is the second most frequent, 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 on the lips (mouth). In most cases, surgical removal is sufficient, but in more severe cases it may be necessary to remove affected lymph nodes or radiotherapy.


Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer and can develop at any age. It is more common in people with lighter skin types 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 asymmetrical;
  • B irregular-edged;
  • C of 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 favorable. The first step in the treatment of melanoma is the extirpation 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) rates 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 term "UVA" inside a circle on their packaging. Make sure the 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 immediately, but, in the long term, UVA rays cause skin aging. UVA rays, like UVB, are prime 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. On the packaging it 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 cannot see (like radio waves) and others that are visible (like 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 gradually cause photoaging to appear. The crystals do not protect from the sun either. To fully protect your skin, use a sunscreen daily.

¿what to remember?

The sun is primarily responsible for skin aging Protect your skin every day of the year with a 50+ photoprotector Check spots frequently to avoid skin cancer and visit the dermatologist once a year


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