Facial plastic surgeons are big fans of sunscreen. While YOU may think you look healthier with a tan, the TRUTH is that UV light damages your skin. It causes pigment and texture irregularities. It even causes skin cancer!
We use UV light to diagnose skin problems, particularly sun related damage. Sun damage looks dark brown under UV light. Check out this video!
We just received our own UV light box to help analyze our clients’ skin and I tried it out.
I have Fitzpatrick 3 skin (stay tuned for a future post about the Fitzpatrick skin classification system!). This means I will burn if I’m out in the sun for a long time, but I can also get a deep tan with prolonged sun exposure. As an adult, I have consistently worn sunscreen and a hat during sun exposure (at the beach, working in the yard, etc.), but I wasn’t so good about it during childhood and my teenage years working at summer camps.
Remember this, from the post about retinol?
Not too bad, right?
Well, check me out under the woods lamp! I was shocked! I put a black and white filter on the photo to make the sun damage even more obvious for you.
I put on sunscreen and went back for another picture. The sunscreen absorbs the UV light, which is why my skin looks a lot darker.
It’s obviously time for me to start getting serious about sunscreen. I’m also going to pursue specific treatments to try to reverse the sun damage. That will be a post for another day – wish me luck!