We are often told that too much sun will damage our skin. The truth is – sun exposure can cause skin damage, and that damage goes beyond unsightly sunburn. Sun damage can cause wrinkling, age spots, actinic keratosis (scaly patches) benign tumors and even melanoma – skin cancer.
Sun protection can reduce your risk – but sometimes even wearing a hat and slathering on sun screen is not enough to eliminate sun damage, only reduce it. As much of the “natural aging” of our skin is actually caused by cumulative sun damage over time, it follows that treating sun damage can restore that youthful appearance. Proper treatment can also remove pre-cancerous lesions before they become something worse.
The first step is, of course, diagnosis. Different people are more or less vulnerable to different types of sun damage. Redheads and people who freckle are at particular risk, not just because they produce less protective melanin, but because the genetic variation that causes red hair, fair skin and freckles is also associated with cancer risk.
Then, the treatment varies according to the problem you have. Wrinkles, for example, are caused by damage to elastin, a fiber which keeps your skin taut. For wrinkles, treatment may vary from using a better moisturizer all the way up to surgical procedures or dermabrasion. Laser treatment can also be used to reduce wrinkles. A good antioxidant facial can work wonders for wrinkled skin. Age spots, on the other hand may also be treated with laser treatment, dermabrasian or chemical peels.
A less invasive option that works for some people is a prescription bleaching cream or even acne cream, but these do not always work, especially on spots that have been there a while. Age spots are caused by your skin losing its ability to recover from sun exposure. Tanning is our natural mechanism to protect from UV exposure, but as we get older, our skin finds it harder to return to its original color, leaving these darker spots. (Dark spots on young children are birthmarks, not age spots).
Best Sun Damage Treatments
Our office can help you determine what the best sun damage treatment is for you, depending on what symptoms you have and their severity. These treatments can restore the youthful, vital appearance of your skin and make you appear years younger. Of course, they should be combined with taking precautions against excessive sun exposure, such as using sunscreen with at least 30SPF, wearing a hat, and engaging in watersports in the cooler parts of the day. But no amount of prevention can completely remove the damage done to your skin – look after yourself and fix the damage so you look your very best.