How Does Sunburn Affect the Skin?

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A sunburn affects the skin by accelerating aging, forming deeper wrinkles in the skin, breaking down collagen and elastin and causing discoloration of the skin. Understand the effects of sunburns, which can cause cancer over time, with beauty advice from a clinical aesthetician in this free video on skin care.

Part of the Video Series: Skin Care Advice
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Video Transcript

Hi. Are you thinking about getting a good base tan for the summer? My name is Keeley Selvage with Keeley Skin Solutions. I've been a clinical aesthetician for over half a decade, and I'm going to talk to you about how sunburn affects the skin. Now, the first and most important thing that you want to remember is that getting a sunburn can actually cause skin cancer. Yes, even just one sunburn can do that. The way that happens is UVA and UVB rays come from the sun, and what they do is they cause enough damage to your skin cells that they are disorderly and they distort, just like a cancer cell would. So you want to be very, very careful about that. Wear broad spectrum sunscreen that's UVA and UVB protected. Now, the other thing that happens from a sunburn is it accelerates aging. That is something we are all concerned about. It causes pigmentation, sun spots. People call them age spots, liver spots -- whatever you want to call them. They come from the sun. Also, it causes deepening of lines and wrinkles on the face and also breaks down collagen and elastin. Now, what happens is the collagen in our skin is interwoven like a basket, and it's nice and tight when we protect our skin from the sun and even when we're a little bit younger. But then as we go out in the sun, we get a sunburn, the basket weave starts to loosen and our skin starts to sag, and we don't want that. So let me show you an example of what sun damage looks like on the skin. I'm going to show you the difference between a freckle and sun damage. So if we look here on my model, you see a little brown spot there. It's kind of nice and round, pretty dark. That is a freckle -- a lentigine is what they call them. And then right next to it, you see a spot -- it's a little bit lighter, kind of spread out, a little bit distorted. That would be sun damage. Sometimes they're confused with freckles that people think are natural, but they're not. It comes from the sun, and that also accelerates aging. So if you're thinking about getting a healthy glow for the summer, the best thing that you can do is to protect your skin from the sun. My name is Keeley Selvage with Keeley Skin Solutions, and that is how a sunburn affects your skin.

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