Actinic cheilitis, sometimes known as "farmer's lip" or "sailor's lip," is a precancerous condition related to cumulative lifetime sun exposure. The lower lip is most often affected. Individuals with actinic cheilitis often complain of persistent dryness and cracking of the lips. They will frequently exhibit other effects of sun-damaged skin, such as precancerous lesions on the skin called actinic keratoses and extensive wrinkling.A certain type of skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) develops in 6–10% of cases of actinic cheilitis.
Melasma is a common disorder of unknown cause that causes dark (hyperpigmented) patches, primarily on the face. The condition is marked by brown patches that worsen in response to increases of the hormone estrogen, such as during pregnancy or with the use of birth control pills. Other medications, such as anti-seizure medications, may also cause melasma. Increased sun exposure can also be a cause.
A solar lentigo (plural, solar lentigines), also known as a sun-induced freckle or senile lentigo, is a dark (hyperpigmented) lesion caused by natural or artificial ultraviolet (UV) light. Solar lentigines may be single or multiple. This type of lentigo is different from a simple lentigo (lentigo simplex) because it is caused by exposure to UV light. Solar lentigines are benign, but they do indicate excessive sun exposure, a risk factor for the development of skin cancer.
Vitiligo is a benign (noncancerous) skin condition in which the immune system attacks the color-producing (pigment-producing) cells of the skin, causing white or light patches to gradually appear on the skin. The face and hands are commonly involved. If the skin involved is in a hair-bearing area, the hair may also turn white. There is no cure for vitiligo, but there are available treatments that help some people more than others. Some people with vitiligo use makeup to disguise the light patches, though if the patches grow large this can be difficult. In some people, vitiligo begins as one small patch and does not spread; in others, it can involve more than half the body. Vitiligo is not contagious. It is associated with other autoimmune disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disease, and alopecia areata.
Cutis rhomboidalis nuchae refers to the manifestation of long-term, prolonged sun exposure and resultant damage to the skin occurring on the back of the neck. Long-term, chronic sun exposure causes thickening of the most superficial layer of the skin (the epidermis) and abnormalities in the composition of the middle layer of the skin (the dermis).
Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), also called lupus, is a chronic inflammatory disease that can affect almost any part of the body, especially the skin, joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, bones, blood, or brain. Systemic lupus erythematosus is considered an autoimmune disorder, meaning that a person's own immune system attacks his or her own healthy cells and tissues, causing inflammation and damage.Because systemic lupus erythematosus can affect any organ system, no two people have identical forms of the disease. However, most people with systemic lupus erythematosus report periods of time in which their symptoms seem to be mild or absent (remission) and other periods of time when the inflammation is more severe (flare or relapse).
People with chapped lips (cheilitis) have lips that appear dry, scaly, and may have one or more small cracks (fissures). Chapped lips are often painful, and there may or may not be redness and swelling.Lip-licking cheilitis is usually seen in 7–15 year olds and appears as a scaling, pink band around the mouth. This is caused by repeated licking of the lips. Retinoids (isotretinoin and acitretin) are the most frequent drug-induced causes of this problem. High doses of vitamin A, lithium, chemotherapeutic agents (busulfan and actinomycin), d-penicillamine, isoniazid, and phenothiazine can also cause chapped lips. Other possible causes of chapped lips include high fevers, environmental conditions such as cold weather, dehydration, and certain vitamin deficiencies.
Sunburn is damage to the top layers of the skin caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light. Most commonly, the light source is the sun, but tanning beds and some intense heat sources, such as welding tools, can also produce a sunburn. The sunburn usually becomes apparent within 24 hours of exposure; the skin becomes red, warm, and tender, and the person may feel dizzy or ill. Sometimes the skin may blister and peel.Experiencing a sunburn raises the lifetime risk of developing skin cancer. Sunburn and sun exposure also increase wrinkling and other signs of premature aging in the skin. Even a tan is dangerous to the skin, as many doctors consider a tan to be an early sunburn. The best protection is to avoid the sun, especially during the peak hours of 10 AM to 3 PM. Always wear sunscreen on exposed skin with an SPF of at least 30. Additionally, it is important to know that you can get a sunburn through certain clothing and that tanning beds are a source of the same light that cause burns, premature aging, and skin cancer.
Many dermatology patients will undergo a skin biopsy at some point during their lives, especially if they have a new lesion that could potentially be a skin cancer. During a biopsy, a sample of body tissue is taken so that a type of doctor, known as a pathologist, can examine the individual cells in the tissue under a microscope in order to make a more definitive diagnosis.
With summer well under way, whether you’re a routine sunscreen user or were driven to the drugstore by a bad sunburn, you’ve probably been overwhelmed by the enormous selection of sunscreen products on the shelves. In addition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released new guidelines and regulations last month regarding sunscreen labeling that will be implemented before the next summer, so even if you are sticking to a familiar product, there’s room for confusion, as the packaging and labels may change to fit regulations. Here is a primer to help you navigate the products and choose which is best for you.
Spend a day at the beach or pool, and you can’t miss the pervasive and unmistakable smell of sunblock products wafting through the air. Shelves in drug stores and supermarkets are crowded with “new and improved” potions, lotions, gels, creams, wipes, and sprays. But using sunblock only on beach or pool days isn’t enough. Make it an everyday habit – and not just a quick smear on your nose in the morning.
Q: Is there a difference between sunscreen and sun block? A: As summer approaches, we stock up on sun-protective gear. A walk down the “seasonal” aisle at your local store can be dizzying. Which product to choose – a sunscreen or sun block? Is there a difference, or are they interchangeable? There are, in fact, somewhat “technical” differences between the two. Sunscreens, also known as chemical blockers, are absorbed into the skin, so they should be applied 10–15 minutes prior to going out in the sun. Sunscreens absorb ultraviolet (UV) light in certain wavelengths. The UVA rays can cause long-term effects and contribute to photoaging and wrinkles. UVB rays are responsible for short-term effects like sunburns. UV light can easily degrade sunscreen, so it’s crucial to reapply every few hours for maximum effectiveness. Avobenzone, oxybenzone, and Mexoryl™ are common ingredients in many chemical blockers these days.
Sunscreens are an important part of skin care. These products reduce the risk of skin cancers, protect from photoaging caused by the sun, and prevent sunburns.
As spring days lengthen, we’re called back outside for walks and hikes, swimming, and lounging. And while that laze in the sun can feel awfully good, it comes with a potentially steep price. This is a reminder that you must be diligent about protecting your skin from the most harmful rays of the sun.
Scientists at King's College London believe that a pill that can protect humans from damaging ultraviolet radiation is about five years away. Tropical coral found on Australia's Great Barrier Reef contains natural UV blockers. Researchers are trying to unravel the biochemical secrets of the chemicals present in the coral by collecting samples during night dives.
As daylight hours get shorter, outdoor activities are winding down and you spend less time in the sun. You may work long hours indoors with hardly any time to step outside for a few minutes of sunshine. So is wearing sunscreen necessary? A recent study argues it might be … at least if you want to slow skin aging. Seasonal Insights from Dr. Belinda Tan