Sunlight exposure boosts the body’s supply of vitamin D, an action that can lead to wide-ranging health benefits, especially for people deficient in this key hormone. Yet too much of a good thing can result in serious problems. Here are five signs of sun-damaged skin that signal you need to make an appointment with a doctor.
- Dry Skin: The sun’s heat strips away the skin’s moisture and lubrication, resulting in dryness. Skin in this condition appears flaky and somewhat more wrinkled than skin that clothing has shielded. See a doctor if nonprescription treatments are ineffective.
- Sunburn: Overexposure to the sun can cause pain, redness and blistering. Get medical attention if you have severe blistering or if you have a mild sunburn that covers much of your body.
- Actinic Keratosis: A small bump that feels like sandpaper or a tiny, scaly area of skin with a yellow, red, pink or brownish tint alerts you that you have actinic keratosis. Some of these disorders turn into skin cancer, so if you have an abnormal patch of skin that doesn’t heal, make an appointment with a doctor.
- Easy Bruising: Sunlight exposure can produce long-term changes in the skin’s structure, causing it to bruise easily. If your skin tends to develop the discoloration of bruising easily, get it checked.
- Mole Changes: See a doctor right away if you notice any changes in a mole or birthmark. The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that signs of melanoma include an increase in thickness or size as well as an alteration in texture or color. An irregular or asymmetrical outline also indicates a possible malignancy.
For guidelines in protecting children from sun damage, see Sun Exposure Tips for Kids.
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