Sun damage, also known as photo damage is a result of unprotected exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. It may be classified as either acute (as in a sunburn) or chronic (more gradual skin changes observed over time due to accumulated sun exposure). Chronic sun damage results in skin changes that may include age spots, hyperpigmented skin, fine lines and wrinkles and loss of skin tone and elasticity. Pre-cancerous lesions and skin cancers may be another result of sun damage.
How Does Sun Damaged Skin Look?
Think of a baby’s smooth, unlined, firm and unblemished skin; this is what healthy and undamaged skin looks like. Sun damage results in many skin changes including:
*Fine and coarse wrinkles
*Skin roughness; sometimes a leathery texture is observed
*Loss of skin tone and elasticity
*Dark patches or increased pigmentation
Avoiding Sun Damage
Your best strategy is to try and avoid (or at the very least, minimize) sun damage by practicing sun avoidance and sun protection with the regular use of sunscreens that block against the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. Sun great sunblocks are iS Clinical SPF 25 Treatment Sunscreen, or for more convenience you can get the same product in an convenient powder that you can apply anywhere! Check out iS Clinical Sunscreen Powder SPF 20. Keep in mind that while UVB rays lead to acute sun damage (Burning), that UVA rays lead to chronic sun damage (Aging). Since UVA rays are prevalent year round even on the coldest, cloudiest day, you should aim to apply sunscreen every day, year round if you wish to keep your skin looking young and healthy. Consider one of these UVA/UVB blocking sunscreens here.
Treating Sun Damage
If your youth was filled with carefree days at the beach or extended tropical holidays, without following smart sun habits, then you may be a candidate for reversing some of the damage caused by the sun. There are a number of products and treatments that can help, all to varying degrees. Here is what to consider:
1. Hydroquinone creams and other skin lighteners can help to even out pigmentation and help with dark spots. Check out all the great Skin Lighteners we have in stock!
2. Retinoids (Retinol, Vitamin A, Retin-A) have been shown to reverse sun damage. A good non-prescription alternative is retinol, found in SkinMedica Tri-Retinol Complex ES, and which many individuals find easier to tolerate than prescription options.
3. Alpha hydroxy acids can help to slough off dead, dry skin minimizing the appearance of fine lines and rough skin. Try SkinMedica 15% AHA/BHA Face Cream
4. Resurfacing lasers. Several types are available, depending on the extent and depth of the sun damage.
5. Antioxidants including Vitamin C and green tea can help to ward off further sun damage. Consider layering under your sunscreen daily.