Sun damage, or photodamage, is a skin condition that is caused by too much exposure to the sun. Sun damage causes the appearance of premature aging and results in wrinkles, fine lines, and brown spots. With too much exposure, skin begins to appear leathery and loses its natural texture, tone, and glow.
- 1 About Sun Damage
- 2 The Dangers of Sun Damage
- 3 What Are the Signs of Sun Damage?
- 4 Signs of Skin Cancer
- 5 How to Avoid Sun Damage
- 6 At-Home Skin Care
- 7 Professional Treatments for Sun Damaged Skin
- 8 FAQs
About Sun Damage
Sun damage is the main cause of your skin appearing aged. Ultraviolet light (UV rays) found in sunlight can cause:
Reduced Skin Elasticity: The heat of the sun breaks down the connective fibers in the skin, called elastin. A break down in these fibers causes a decrease in the skin’s ability to stretch and regain its shape. With poor skin elasticity, the skin will sag and stretch, leading to many aging signs, such as wrinkles and creases. The skin will also bruise and tear more easily.
Irregular Dark Spots: To help protect itself from the sun, the skin produces melanin. Melanin makes the skin darker and helps people tan. Prolonged exposure will increase melanin. These darker cells will move towards the surface of the skin. Often times, an irregular production of melanin will cause dark spots to occur on the face. These dark circles or spots will stay on your body and cause freckling and irregular pigmentation.
A multitude of dark spots can make you appear aged. Proper sun protection will reduce the development of dark spots.
Sunburn: Extensive time in direct sunlight will allow ultraviolet beams to reach deep into the skin to kill and damage skin cells. Sunburns can prove very unhealthy and cause severe burns that require medical attention. Lighter skinned individuals should take extra precautions to keep their skin protected.
Other conditions that may develop from sun damage include benign tumors, yellow skin discoloration, and dilation of blood vessels.
The Dangers of Sun Damage
Sun damage will age your skin quickly. Extensive sun damage can lead to serious diseases such as skin cancer. Skin cancer is an umbrella term and is a way to describe many different forms of skin diseases caused by rapid abnormal skin cell production. Skin cancer is a very common form of cancer today.
Sun damage can occur at any time of the year and precautions against UV rays should be taken in the winter time and summer time.
The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma are very curable when treated early, however, melanoma is a more serious form of skin cancer. If not found early this form of cancer can spread to other organs. UV rays from sunlight and tanning beds are the main cause of skin cancer.
Severe sunburns earlier in life can cause melanoma later in life.
Take safety measures to protect your skin and health from skin cancer!
What Are the Signs of Sun Damage?
Sun damage causes several changes in your skin. The first, and most common sign, is a sunburn. Sunburn is actually an injury to your skin caused by UV rays. Another common sign of sun damage is dry skin. Sun exposure robs your skin of moisture and oils, leaving it dry, flaky, and prematurely wrinkled.
Over time, your skin loses the underlying structure of collagen. Collagen is a protein-based lattice-work that provides support to your skin. As your collagen is destroyed by sun damage, this foundation weakens and disappears, leaving your skin sagging and wrinkled. Actinic keratosis is a precursor to skin cancer that is caused by photodamage. This condition appears as pink, red, yellow, or brownish patches on your skin and needs to be medically treated.
Signs of Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is characterized by irregular moles or lesions in the skin. Pre-existing moles may also change so it is good to be aware of your skin.
- A smooth bump
- A mole that is pink, red, brown, or all three colors
- A mole that is scaly or rough
- A bump that itches and/or bleeds
- A rough shape that has ragged edges
- Asymmetrical mark
- Uneven colors
- A mark larger than a pencil eraser
These moles may appear anywhere on the body so it is important to note the development of any new skin irregularity.
If you have fair or freckled skin, blond or red hair, and light eyes, your chances of skin cancer are higher than individuals without these characteristics. It is important that you take skin care seriously and avoid sun damage. It is also important to be aware of your family history of skin cancer. You may have a higher chance of developing cancer if family members have undergone the disease.
The best way to protect yourself from skin cancer is to use a high SPF sunscreen throughout the year and to have annual skin checks from your dermatologist. Perform your own examinations so you can be familiar with your skin and aware if anything changes. It will also be helpful to have a professional look over your skin. Having a dermatologist examine your skin will ease your mind and catch anything you may have missed.
How to Avoid Sun Damage
When going out, limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 am to 2 pm when the sun is at its peak.
Fortunately, sun damage can be easily avoided! A healthy skin care routine that implements sunblock will help keep your skin healthy and keep you looking young for years! There are many dermatologist-approved sunscreens that can be worn under makeup.
Take the time to apply a high SPF to exposed areas of skin. If you go swimming, make sure to re-apply sunscreen after you’ve swum. Be sure to wear sunscreen year-round. UV rays are powerful and will still affect your skin in cloudy weather. Sunscreen is your greatest tool against ultraviolet sun rays!
At-Home Skin Care
Sun damage dries out the skin, causing dehydration which leads to an increase of dead skin cells in the surface layer. Common at-home treatments that will help reduce sun damage include exfoliation and moisturization. Exfoliation will reduce the outer layer of skin that often makes the skin appear uneven. Removing these dead skin cells will make your skin appear bright and smooth. To improve the texture of your skin and boost collagen levels, at-home and professional exfoliation treatments can reduce sun damage and act as an anti-aging treatment. Some exfoliating treatments will even reduce fine lines and wrinkles, helping to make you appear younger!
Moisturizing will help rehydrate your skin and keep it healthy. For your best face moisturizer, schedule an appointment with one of our skin care specialists. It is important to keep your skin well nourished so that it can be healthy and defend against UV rays.
Professional Treatments for Sun Damaged Skin
Sun damage and anti-aging care are often synonymous. If you are concerned because you already have sun damaged skin, don’t worry, we offer many treatments that will reverse damage and boost the health of your skin! Some of our popular treatments include:
Skin peels are a great exfoliating treatment that will reduce wrinkles and sun spots, to help your skin appear smooth and healthy. We offer three types of peels: chemical peels, Jet Peel, and Vi Peel.
Chemical Peels: This anti-wrinkle technique helps to reduce the appearance of deep lines and creases. We offer many different types of chemical solutions. When applied to your face they will reduce uneven pigmentation, blemishes, and lines. Each chemical peel reaches a different level of the skin to help produce the results you want. The result will be an increase in collagen that helps your skin appear smooth and bright!
Jet Peel This revolutionary peel was made specifically to improve sun damage, age spots, fine lines, and clogged pores. The Jet Peel is a handheld device that applies liquid microdroplets and gas into the treatment area. This treatment will exfoliate the outer layer of your skin and help you appear young and healthy.
Vi Peel This procedure will gently remove the top layer of dead skin cells, producing significant results! This treatment is unique from other chemical peels in that it focuses on repairing the cells of the skin, helping to bring about long-term skin health. With no preparation or downtime, this procedure is excellent at repairing most skin shades!
Skin Care Products
We offer transforming solutions as well as products to help keep your results consistent. The Clarisonic Skin Cleansing System and Obagi skin care products will help keep your skin healthy to fend off UV rays. For your best anti-aging cream, hydrating serum, or desired skin care product consult one of our skin care specialists so they can create the perfect skin care routine for you!
We offer many skin care services that can reduce sun damage and help you maintain youthful, glowing skin!
The professional procedures offered at our medical office will help heal sun-damaged skin and prevent further injury. If you are concerned about the effects of the sun on your skin, schedule a consultation with us today.
What is the best treatment for sun damaged skin?
There are many excellent treatments for sun damaged skin. The perfect skin care solution for you will vary based on the extent of your skin damage. Treatments include skin peels and skin care products. To know which treatment is best for you, schedule a private consultation.
How do you know if you have sun damage?
Sun damage can appear as sunburn or, as you age, will appear as leathery skin. Sun damaged skin also materializes as aged skin and is often wrinkled, has sunspots, and hyperpigmentation. These various skin conditions can get worse as you get older. It is never too soon to begin skin care to reduce sun damage. If you already experience dark spots and wrinkled skin, this damage can be reversed. Our doctors will help develop a treatment that refines your skin and helps it return to a healthy condition.
How can I protect my skin from sun damage?
One of the best ways to protect your skin from sun damage is to use sunscreen every day. Have a healthy skin care routine that implements exfoliation and moisturizing to keep your skin strong. Regular visits to the dermatologist will help you create a healthy skin care routine and allow the dermatologist to check for any irregular skin developments. Your doctor will help you create a healthy treatment plan to keep your skin glowing and strong against sun damage. Take daily precautions to protect from the sun and avoid sunburn.
How do you fix sun-damaged skin on the chest?
Skin peel techniques can be applied to the chest to reverse sun damage! Our staff have excellent knowledge of the skin and how to care for it. They will suggest your best treatment to reverse the effects of sun damaged skin.