Skin Memory: What You Should Know

16 September, 2020
The existence of skin memory determines a greater risk of suffering skin injuries over time. Damage to the DNA of the cells builds up and, over time, is hard to stop.

Skin memory is a real thing and not just a poetic term or the name of a novel. It’s a phenomenon that dermatologists are taking into account more and more. Skin memory has to do especially with sun exposure and the damages that occur later on.

The skin is the most extensive organ in the human body. In fact, altogether, it measures up to about 8 feet and weighs 9 pounds. What’s more, it consists of three layers:

  • Hypodermis
  • Dermis
  • Epidermis

This organ functions as a barrier against the exterior, protecting us against aggressive influences and changes in our environment. What’s more, it plays an important role in our appearance and even our self-esteem. When we look in the mirror, what we see is a large part of our dermic tissue.

Many people don’t take into account that our skin requires special care. At the same time, we need to protect it from certain dangers, such as exposure to the sun. In the article below, we’ll explain what skin memory is so that you can understand it’s importance.

What does skin memory consist of?

Skin memory is a very interesting phenomenon. Of course, it doesn’t have a memory like that of the brain. Rather, we’re talking about the fact that skin that has a lot of exposure to the sun has a greater risk of suffering skin injuries in the future.

In other words, those who expose their skin often to the sun without protection are much more likely to start showing lesions on the skin after many years. The biggest problem is that, while in some cases they’re benign, in others they can be precancerous or even cancerous.

At the time of exposure, we may not even realize that we have sunburn, but that doesn’t keep these lesions from appearing. This is the main reason why the constant application of sunscreen is so important. What’s more, the protection factor (SPF) should always be at least 30 and the product should cover all of the exposed parts of the body.

A woman lying in the sun on the beach.
Sun exposure is harmful to the skin and can be the original of malignant and cancerous skin lesions.

You may also like: The ABCDE Test for Skin Cancer

How does skin memory work?

Ultraviolet radiation from solar light passes through the thickness of the skin. In this sense, we’re talking about two different kinds of radiation–UVA and UVB. UVA rays are capable of going through clouds and even glass, reaching the middle layer of the skin.

This type of rays, by penetrating so deeply, are related to the processes of photoaging and sunspots. In the same way, they can also damage the DNA of our cells and cause the mutation that can produce skin cancer.

UVB rays are the rays responsible for sunburn. While they aren’t as capable of penetrating the skin, reaching only the epidermis, they’re still related to skin cancer. Therefore, we need to protect ourselves from both types of radiation.

The concept of skin memory is based on the fact that these radiations alter the DNA of our cells. What happens is that, at first, this damage to the DNA repairs itself. However, over time, the damage builds up until it reaches a point where it becomes irreparable. When the process of cellular reparation comes to an end, this is when cancer appears.

You may also want to read: Your Skin and Your Health: Revealing Signs

Always protect your skin

Skin repairing itself.
It’s possible to repair our skin to a certain point. But when mutations become unstoppable, they lead to skin cancer.

Skin memory is part of us from the time we’re bornWhen children experience unprotected exposure to the sun, the risk of injury is even greater. That’s why it’s important to practice special care when it comes to children and the times of the day when radiation is greater.

At the same time, we need to be aware that skin memory and skin cancer are highly connected. Having fair skin and light-colored eyes are also risk factors, although people with darker features are not exempt from the damage. The problem is so great that skin cancer is one of the most prevalent types of cancer.

Therefore, we should never forget to protect our skin. What’s more, you should also stay away from ultraviolet radiation tanning beds. Remember, you may not see the damage right away, but it will appear over time. So, do what you can today to keep your skin healthy long term.

  • [Skin Memory: The Clinical Implications] – PubMed. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2020, from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27172692/
  • Fundación Piel Sana – Noticia Exposoma | La memoria de la piel. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2020, from https://fundacionpielsana.es/prevencion/exposoma-la-memoria-de-la-piel
  • Press, E. (n.d.). La piel tiene memoria y, cuanta más exposición solar, mayor posibilidad de lesiones cutáneas.
    La radiación UVB y UVA en el punto de mira de la ciencia con La Roche-Posay. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2020, from https://www.laroche-posay.es/artículo/protección-solar/a4020.aspx
  • Mackay, Laura K., et al. “The developmental pathway for CD103+ CD8+ tissue-resident memory T cells of skin.” Nature immunology 14.12 (2013): 1294-1301.