Chronic reactions to exposure to sunlight

, medical expert
Last reviewed: 11.04.2020

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Skin aging

Chronic exposure to sunlight aging skin (dermatoglioz, external aging), which leads to the formation of wrinkles, coarsening skin, spotty hyperpigmentation and sometimes to telangiectasias. Atrophic reactions can occur in some people and resemble the reaction of the skin to X-ray therapy (chronic sun dermatitis).

Actinic keratosis

Actinic keratosis is a precancerous lesion that often develops due to prolonged sun exposure. The most sensitive blonde and red-haired people with type I or II skin, black people are rarely prone to this disease. Keratose foci of pink color develop with fuzzy boundaries, the formation of scales of light gray or dark color. Actinic keratosis should not be confused with seborrheic keratosis, in which brown warts are formed, the number of which increases with age, which can also occur in areas of the skin that are not exposed to sunlight.

trusted-source[1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], [12], [13]

Skin cancer

The frequency of basal cell carcinoma formation in light-skinned people is directly proportional to the annual sun exposure. Such lesions usually occur in people who are often in the sun, for example in children and adolescents, athletes, farmers, sailors. Frequent exposure to the sun also increases the risk of malignant melanomas.

Treatment of skin reactions to sunlight

In order to improve the cosmetic characteristics of chronic sun damage, various combinations of drugs were used: chemical peels, 5 fluoroauracil (5FU), tretinoin, topical application of alpha hydroxy acids. It turns out that these measures improve the condition of deep and fine wrinkles, reduce pigmentation, yellowness and lethargy or coarsening of the skin, but do not help with telangiectasias. A laser can also be used in treatment. However, it has not been proven that many of the chemicals used in cosmetics actually provide protection against permanent sun exposure.

With a small expression of actinic keratosis, the fastest and most suitable method of treatment is cryotherapy with liquid nitrogen. If there is too much damage to use cryotherapy, 5FU is recommended at night or twice a day for 2-4 weeks, which leads to the desired result. Many patients tolerate the application of 0.5% 5FU cream well when applied once a day for 4 weeks. With actinic hand keratosis, a higher concentration, for example 5% cream, may be required. Topical application of 5FU causes redness, peeling of the skin and burning sensation, which often occurs in places of healthy skin. If the response to treatment is too pronounced, its use can be stopped for 2-3 days. Topical application of 5FU does not cause significant adverse reactions, other than those listed above, that can be masked with cosmetics or stopped by topical application of glucocorticoids. 5FU should not be used to treat basal cell carcinoma, except in cases that are superficial.

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