Sun Damaged Skin



Your skin is a dynamic collection of cells and tissues that provide a protective layer between you and the outside world. When skin is healthy, it functions well and looks terrific.

Healthy skin starts with a subcutaneous layer – the deepest one. It is made up of fat cells blood vessels and connective tissue. Those fat cells cushion internal organs and give your skin volume and resilience. The blood vessels feed the dermis, or middle layer of skin.

The dermis, with its sweat glands, hair follicles and nerve endings, is the most functional layer. It also contains a network of collagen – protein fibers that provide structure and firmness to your visible complexion.

The epidermis is the layer you see. It acts as your interface with the world around you. Melanocyte cells give your skin pigmentation and other specialized cells in the epidermis are the immune system’s first line of defense. Cells in the epidermis form in columns. As new ones are created at the bottom, they push old ones to the top where they die and slough off naturally.

So what happens when your skin is exposed to the Tampa sun? First, ultraviolet light stimulates the melanocytes to produce more pigmentation – your skin tans. The additional pigmentation is your body’s way of trying to protect itself by absorbing more of the UV before it can damage deeper layers. However, that takes time.

Meanwhile, you are subject to sunburn – cellular damage at the epidermis. You’ve probably seen or experienced the pain, redness and peeling that result from an unusual number of skin cells dying quickly. Repeated sun exposure breaks down the mesh of collagen fibers and slows production of elastin. Your skin loses the moisture that gives you a dewy, youthful appearance and you develop fine lines and wrinkles.

The bigger concern is that UV exposure triggers irregular growth in the cells that cause basal and squamous cell cancers and potentially life-threatening melanoma.

Dr. Aparna Ambay provides a number of cosmetic solutions to help reverse uneven tone and the premature aging effects of sun-damaged skin. She is trained in screening for early detection of basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma cancers. Dr. Ambay is also experienced in Mohs micrographic surgery, one of the most advanced techniques for eradication of skin cancers.

However, her best advice, as a board certified dermatologist and a compassionate friend to her patients, is to prevent sun damage to your skin. Call 360 Dermatology today for a skin analysis and consultation for general dermatology care.