UV, UVA Skin Damage

UV-wrinkled and spotty skin of 92-year-old woman who only ever creamed her face.

  1. Woman was left with a sun-battered neck covered in wrinkles and age spots
  2. She only used UV-protecting moisturisers on her face and not on her neck

By Joe Davies Health Reporter For Mailonline

Published: 13:07 BST, 5 September 2022 | Updated: 14:15 BST, 5 September 2022

Shocking photo exhibits the effects of only using sun cream on your face and not your neck.

A 92-year-old woman was left with a sun-battered neck covered in wrinkles and liver spots after not using UV-protective moisturisers below her face for more than 40 years.

But was left with unblemished skin on her face, where she had used SPF products.

Experts from the Technical University in Munich, Germany, said the images show the 'striking difference in solar damage' between parts of the body that were protected in the sun.

The use of these sunscreen may reduce skin cancers.

The NHS encourages everyone to use at least factor 30 protection.

Regular users of sun cream with SPF 15 or higher can cut their risk of melanoma — a skin cancer that kills 2,300 people in Britain and 7,650 in the US every year — in half, studies suggest.

The woman's picture was first reported in the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology.

Writing in the journal, dermatologist Dr Chritsian Posch said the picture shows how 'preventing the negative effects of UV-radiation is both important and actionable'.

He said: 'Clinical examination reveals a striking difference in solar damage between her cheek and neck.'

Looking older because of the passage of time is natural — but doing so because of sun exposure is known as photo-aging.

Around 90 per cent of all visible changes to the skin are caused by photo-aging, the Skin Cancer Foundation claims.

UV rays can penetrate the first two layers of skin — the epidermis and dermis — and damage cells' DNA.

Damage in the top epidermis layer causes the body to produce melanin, as part of its attempt to block the sun from continuing its assault.

This usually results in the body tanning, as the substance produces a darker pigment in the skin.

Exposure to UVA waves, which have a longer wavelength and penetrate deeper than to the other form of UV, UVB, leads to damage in the middle dermis layer over time.

The layer contains collagen, elastin and other fibres supporting the skin's structure.

The deeper penetration damages these proteins, leading to the skin gradually becoming looser and wrinkly.

This is why UVA radiation is considered the main cause of photoaging. UVB is the type of ray more associated with sunburns.

Meanwhile infra-red light, which is felt as heat, and high-energy visible (HEV) light from the sun are also linked with damaging the dermis.

The combined effects can lead to the skin becoming looser, more wrinkly and liver spotted.

Bill McElligott, Delivery Truck Driver, Has Severe Sun Damage On One Side Of His Face

This man's face is possibly the most compelling argument for wearing sunscreen.

Truck driver Bill McElligott, 69, has unilateral dermatoheliosis, according to The New England Journal of Medicine. Essentially, ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmitted through the window of his delivery truck have severely damaged the skin on the left side of his face during the 28 years he has spent driving on the job.

As a result, the left side of McElligott's face looks roughly 20 years older than the right, the Toronto Star reports. The difference between the two sides of his face is so pronounced, even medical experts were shocked.

"We are used to seeing photo damage by the sun, photo aging, every day, but I was taken aback when I saw how one-sided this was,'' said Dr. Jennifer Gordon, a dermatology expert who treated McElligott, in The Daily Telegraph.

Driving has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure through the windows, which do not filter UVA rays. A study in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology concluded more cases involved the left arm and left side of the face, according to the CBC.

The Canadian Dermatology Association estimates 5,800 new cases of melanoma will be diagnosed this year, causing 970 deaths, the CBC says.

The doctor's orders for McElligott? Sun protection, topical retinoids.

Christine Janus, executive director of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA), also suggests prevention is essential.

Wear Sunscreen

"Wear sunscreen" says Christine Janus, executive director of the Canadian Skin Patient Alliance (CSPA), an organization that provides support for those with skin conditions. Janus recommends wearing enough sunscreen to cover exposed skin and reapply the lotion every four to six hours if you're going in the water or working out.

Wear clothing that cover skin, in hot weather use thinner clothing rather than expose skin, a hat does not stop UV and UVA rays that exist more like a vapor than laser rays, so sunscreen is essential along with a hat. Wear long sleeve shirts with a very tight neck fitting collar and a stylish hat where the trim covers protect the neck and face and wear a chemical free sunscreen and possibly a moisturizer.


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