MGL Skin Cancer Clinic | About Sun Damage - Skin Cancer
Sunspots occur in areas of the skin exposed to sunlight, and indicate the whole of the surrounding area is very severely sun-damaged.
sun damage, uv rays, uvc, uvb,uva, sunspots
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About Sun Damage
What sorts of rays come from the sun?

The sun emits electromagnetic radiation of varying wave-lengths. The wave-lengths are measured in “nanometers”. One “nanometer” (nm for short), measures one billionth of a meter. The various categories of radiation from the sun, starting with ultraviolet and going through visible light to infrared, are :-

  1. UVC : 100 – 280 nm
  2. UVB :; 280 – 315 nm
  3. UVA :; 315 – 400 nm
  4. Visible Light :; 400 – 700 nm
  5. Infrared : 700 nm -1 mm
Which rays damage my skin?

The vast majority of UV radiation from the sun is actually “blocked” from reaching the earth’s surface by the “Ozone Layer”.

  1. UVC is almost all blocked from reaching us, and is actually very important in the formation of the Ozone Layer.
  2. UVB is the culprit in causing “sunburn”. It is mostly absorbed in the outer layer of our skin, and causes significant damage to the DNA in our cells, leading to “aberrant cell structure” that in turn can lead to sunspots and skin cancers.
  3. UVA is responsible for about 98% of the UV that reaches the skin of humans. It penetrates deeper into the dermis, does not cause “sunburn” as such, but is very implicated in “photoageing” of the skin with loss of some of the thickness of the dermis & therefore “wrinkling” of the skin. It also produces pigment changes in the skin and indirect damage to DNA.
  4. Even small exposure to sunlight’s UV rays has a detrimental effect on the skin’s immune system, thus reducing the likelihood of the immune system’s being able to deal with UV-induced DNA damage. This leads to “sunspots” and skin cancers.
  5. Chronic UV damage includes ever-deepening wrinkles; abnormally prominent blood vessels especially on the face; lax and leathery skin; solar lentigos which are sun-induced pigment spots usually on the face, hands, and upper back; dry skin; sunspots and skin cancers.
  6. UV skin damage is life-long accumulative, that is, every episode of sun exposure worsens the problem.
Sunspots occur in areas of the skin exposed to sunlight, and indicate the whole of the surrounding area is very severely sun-damaged.
What is a Sunspot?
  1. “Sunspots” are thickened areas of the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) that are rough spots, usually pinkish underneath, with a white crusty top.
  2. Sunspots occur in areas of the skin exposed to sunlight, and indicate the whole of the surrounding area isĀ very severely sun-damaged.
  3. They are sometimes called “actinic” (meaning exposed to light, in this case UV light from the sun), or “solar” (from the sun), “keratoses” (meaning a thickening of the epidermal layer of the skin)
  4. Sunspots are regarded as precancerous. If a person has 10 or more sunspots, the risk of developing a “Squamous Cell Cancer” from these is about 10 – 15%
  5. There are a number of different treatments for sunspots.