Ultraviolet (UV) radiation in both natural and artificial sunlight can cause damage to the skin, particularly in people who are fair-skinned and who live in sunny places. Sun damage tends to accumulate over the years and may appear in several ways – for example with thinning or wrinkling of the skin and with increased or reduced pigmentation. Some people with sun damage develop pink scaly areas of skin on sun-exposed areas, called actinic keratosis. Protecting your skin from the sun will reduce the risk of sun damage, and of developing a sun-induced skin cancer. It is important to protect yourself by keeping to the shade during the hottest part of the day (11am to 3pm) especially on sunny summer days, covering up with clothing, a hat and sunglasses and using a sunscreen with at least factor 30 and a 4 or 5 star UVA protection rating. Care should also be taken when skiing as high altitude increases the amount of UV radiation to the skin.
Vitamin D – people who actively avoid sun exposure should have their vitamin D levels checked and monitored. You may be advised to take a vitamin D supplement by your GP.
Areas of sun damage can be treated at Dorset Dermatology with cryotherapy or prescribed creams – such as imiquimod or 5 fluouracil.