GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — We only get a few short months of summer to enjoy in West Michigan -- so we often try and soak up every bit. 

But at what price to our skin?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, an estimated 90% of skin aging is caused by the sun. And, while you might not be able to see it now -- it will eventually show up.

Spa Medica GR is one just one of several skin clinics in Grand Rapids that offer the Visia UV technology. The Visia allows you to see the sun damage beneath the skin that is waiting to surface through the years.

Visia sun damage image
Spa Medica GR

"We know that if we're not properly taking care of our skin -- 10 years later it will be even worse than now," Dr. Di Qu is an Amway senior principal research scientist at Amway International. He's been studying advanced imaging as it relates to aging for nearly 20 years.

F.A.C.E.S. scan
Amway

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"Our understanding that excessive melanin in the deep layer of the skin will eventually show up on the surface of the skin," Dr. Qu uses Amway's patented F.A.C.E.S. technology to examine aging and sun damage that lies beneath, “It's about one millimeter deep into your skin."

Some of the spots you see beneath your skin could show up as something more serious: Skin cancer.

In Michigan cases of melanoma -- the deadliest form of skin cancer -- increased nearly 150% in the last 30 years, the Skin Cancer Foundation reports.

Spectrum Health Skin Cancer Specialist and surgeon Dr. Paul Wright says while many of us are concerned with cosmetic damage, years of over exposure to the sun can also increase your chances of skin cancer. 

"Any type of severe sun exposure leading to sun burns actually damages the DNA of the skin cells," Dr. Wright explains. "Eventually those cells can turn into skin cancers."

Wearing sunscreen is one way to protect your skin from sun damage. But, sunscreen should be worn all year round -- even in the winter.

Winter sun
Getty Images

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, snow and ice reflect up to 80% of UV rays that reach the ground. Which means you can get a sunburn even in the winter.

So remember, to protect your skin because one thing is for sure -- no matter how you look at it sun damage isn't pretty.

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