In medicine, the term “actinic” refers to a type of damage or condition caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or other sources, such as tanning beds or welding torches. This type of radiation can cause damage to the skin, eyes, and other tissues.
Actinic damage to the skin is commonly known as actinic damage or solar damage, and it can result in a range of conditions, including:
- Actinic keratosis: This is a precancerous condition that results from the buildup of keratinocytes in the epidermis (outer layer of the skin). It appears as rough, scaly patches on the skin that can be pink, red, or brown in color.
- Actinic cheilitis: This is a type of actinic damage that affects the lips, resulting in dryness, cracking, and sometimes the development of small bumps or white patches.
- Actinic granuloma: This is a rare condition that occurs when the skin reacts to chronic exposure to UV radiation by developing raised, red or yellow nodules on the face or scalp.
- Actinic elastosis: This is a condition that results from the breakdown of elastin fibers in the skin due to chronic UV exposure. It causes the skin to become thickened, wrinkled, and leathery in appearance.
In addition to causing skin damage, actinic radiation can also cause damage to the eyes, resulting in conditions such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Prevention of actinic damage involves protecting the skin from excessive exposure to UV radiation. This can be achieved by wearing protective clothing, including hats and long-sleeved shirts, using sunscreen with a high SPF, and avoiding excessive exposure to the sun during peak UV radiation hours (10am-4pm).