If your skin sustains sun damage, the most immediate damage you’ll notice is sunburn. However, UV rays damage your skin in several other ways as well. Wrinkles, dry skin, dark spots, and dry, scaly patches known as actinic keratosis (AK) are all the result of sun damage. Ultimately, too much sun can result in skin cancer. The treatment you’ll need depends on the type of damage you’ve sustained.
- Sunburn: Most of the damage you experience with sunburn has already happened before your skin turns pink and painful. Sunburn is the result of damage to the DNA in your skin. While there are plenty of remedies for the pain, there are not many ways to counteract the damage. After a burn, wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen, reapplied every 80 minutes, and try to stay in the shade. By protecting yourself from future UV radiation, you’ll allow your skin’s enzymes to begin repairing the damage.
- Dry Skin: Sun damage can leave you with parched, rough patches of skin. Using a scrub or loofah, you can gently exfoliate and take off the top layer of dead skin cells. Moisturize the soft skin underneath, avoiding petroleum-based products if you’re sunburned. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day can also help.
- Wrinkles: The result of the breakdown of collagen and elastin in your skin, wrinkles can be lessened using a few different treatments.
- A diet high in beta-carotene can help reduce sun-related wrinkles.
- Dermatologist-prescribed retinoids, or less potent over-the-counter retinoids, can boost the collagen in your skin.
- Chemical peels remove damaged cells from your skin’s upper layers.
- Microdermabrasion uses tiny crystals, grains, or diamond tips to remove the outer layer of skin and stimulate collagen production.
- Laser therapy uses concentrated light to remove specific areas or layers of skin.
- Sun or Age Spots or Melasma: You can treat these dark spots, which form when the melanin your skin makes to protect itself forms into a clump, with over-the-counter or prescription treatments, including:
- Skin-lightening products with hydroquinone, or kojic or glycolic acids.
- Retinoids, which speed the turnover of pigmented cells.
- Cryotherapy, which peels away the area by freezing it with liquid nitrogen.
- Chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy
- AK: Ten percent of these patches can turn into skin cancer, but they can be treated with many of the treatments used to repair other sun damage.
The best way to deal with sun damage is to prevent it by being vigilant about your sunscreen usage. If you sustain damage and need help, Swinyer-Woseth Dermatology is committed to providing superior, professional skincare in a manner that’s practical, efficient, and compassionate. With over 30 years of experience providing dermatological services in Salt Lake City, we provide a variety of services, from cosmetic skincare to treatment for skin cancer. Our team of board-certified dermatologists and licensed cosmetic service providers are here to provide you the care you need in a comfortable, professional atmosphere. Call (801) 682-4715 or contact us through our website.