Skip to main content

The Truth About Your Skin and the Sun

The Truth About Your Skin and the Sun

It’s hard to resist the siren song of sunshine. It boosts the mood, regulates sleeping patterns, and helps our skin make vitamin D, an essential nutrient for bone health and function.

But there’s a downside to sun exposure as well, mainly because of its ultraviolet (UV) light. Too much of this energy can cause sunburn. However, it can also penetrate deeper into the skin, causing damage on a cellular level. Over time, this damage can lead to premature aging and, more seriously, skin cancer.

Juan-Carlos Caballero, MD, and his team at Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center in Warrenton, Virginia, are very experienced in treating dermatological disorders. In honor of Melanoma Awareness Month, Dr. Caballero wants to make sure you know the truth about your skin and the sun.

Why the sun can cause skin damage

The body has a remarkable way of healing itself, and that includes the skin. In fact, it’s always shedding dead skin cells and replacing them with new ones. If you’ve ever had a sunburn, you’ve seen this in action for yourself when your skin started to peel.

However, even if your skin looks normal again in a week or two, long-term damage can still remain well below the surface. On top of that, this repair process becomes more difficult for your skin as you grow older. When this occurs, it’s easier to see the results of sun damage, as lines and wrinkles start to appear.

However, the harm can go far beyond cosmetic issues. It can also cause DNA damage within the cells, triggering cell changes that make them grow and divide out of control in the outermost layer of the skin — a condition known as skin cancer.

The signs of skin cancer can vary from person to person, so it’s essential to have any suspicious marks on your body evaluated by an expert, such as Dr. Caballero.

What you should know about skin cancer

There’s a reason why skin cancer raises alarm bells. More people develop this form of cancer than any other. However, that doesn’t mean all types of skin cancer are one and the same. There are three main types, which are basal cell carcinomasquamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.

Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma

These two forms of skin cancer are by far the most common, affecting more than 5 million people on an annual basis. Both older and younger people can develop these skin cancers, and they’re typically not life-threatening, but they still require expert attention.


While far less common, melanoma is much more serious than any other form of skin cancer. This form of the disease develops in the cells that provide color — or pigment — to the skin. 

Unlike nonmelanoma forms of skin cancer, this type is highly aggressive and more likely to spread to other areas of the body. 

Your skin and the sun

First, it’s crucial to know your personal risks of developing skin cancer. For example, you can have a higher risk of developing it if you have a history of sunburns, a personal or family history of skin cancer, or have a fair complexion. If you have a heightened risk of developing the condition, you need to be extra diligent in checking your skin regularly for signs of cancer and protecting your skin from the sun.

Whether you have an average or increased risk for skin cancer, it’s crucial to limit your sun exposure. When you can’t, take these steps to protect yourself:

And avoid tanning beds. While these devices may give you the perfect tan, they still contain harmful UV rays and can cause the same damage.

Finally, everyone should get in the habit of performing regular skin checks. Remember, everyone can get skin cancer, regardless of age, gender, or skin color. Checking your skin monthly and scheduling routine screenings with an expert, such as Dr. Caballero, can help you spot problems as early as possible, so you can take action before things become serious.

Have you had your skin checked recently? Schedule a skin cancer detection appointment in honor of Melanoma Awareness Month by calling 540-701-4656 or requesting an appointment online with Warrenton Dermatology & Skin Therapy Center today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Makes a Hydrafacial Unique?

Would you like to exfoliate, brighten, and firm your skin — all at the same time? There’s a reason why people turn to Hydrafacial® treatments. But, did you know that it’s not just for your face? See what sets this skin treatment apart from the rest.

Vitamins Your Skin Needs Most

People spend a lot of time thinking about which cleansers, moisturizers, and cosmetic treatments can make their skin the most radiant. But, vitamins also play an important role in skin health. Find out where to start for healthy, beautiful skin.

Summer Skincare Spotlight

You may be ready for summer, but is your skin care regimen up to the task? Read on to see what tweaks you should make this season to keep your skin looking and feeling its best.

Is Acne Ever a Health Concern?

Pimples and blackheads may seem like a rite of adolescence, but they can strike at any age. They can also cause ongoing or permanent problems. If you have acne, it could be time to see an expert. Keep reading to learn more.

Helping Your Child Manage Their Eczema

Eczema is challenging enough in adulthood, but it’s especially difficult for children. So how can you help a young person with this uncomfortable skin condition? These tips can help get you started.

All the Problems Chemical Peels Can Fix

Hearing the words “chemical peel” may seem scary when they involve your face. However, these safe and effective skin treatments can address numerous issues and imperfections. And they can come with little to no downtime.