Charleston Dermatology Blog

How To Care for Sun Damaged Skin

  • skin-conditions
  • skincare-tips

While soaking up the sun is a great method to get your daily dose of vitamin D, it can be harmful in long exposures. A simple sunburn from a day at the beach seems as if its effects last as long as its red appearance, but it can lead to much more serious complications. Contributing to 80% of skin aging, sun damage can create serious, lasting effects. 

What is Sun Damage?

Sun damage is more than just a sunburn. Under the surface, ultraviolet rays damage healthy skin cells, collagen and elastin, which can lead to many complications and skin issues. 

Over time, sun damage can create:

  • Freckles
  • Age spots
  • Redness
  • Blotchiness
  • Wrinkles
  • If left unmonitored, sun damage can develop into skin cancer and other serious skin conditions. 

Unfortunately, the damage to your skin is irreversible, but there are certain measures you can take to prevent skin cancer, resolve physical signs of sun damage, and combat skin aging. 

Proactive Protection

One of the most important and effective ways to combat sun damage is to use preventative measures before stepping outside. Even if you aren’t spending the day lounging at the beach, make sure to protect your skin with sunscreen. To maximize sun protection, use sunscreen that is at least 30 SPF and reapply every two hours. While this may seem like a hassle, your skin and future self will thank you. Aside from skin applications, protective measures include:

  • Limiting your sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the UV rays are the strongest
  • Wearing hats and sunglasses
  • Wearing protective clothing and covers 

Tips and Treatments 

While reversing sun damage can feel intimidating at first, there are many ways to care for your damaged skin and give it the best treatment possible. Despite the variety of at-home treatments for sun-damaged skin, choosing to see a board-certified dermatologist is the smartest and safest way to receive professional treatment from skin care experts that know the ins and outs of sun damage treatment.

Niacinamide is an effective form of vitamin B-3 that works as an antioxidant to reduce wrinkles and redness, improve skin elasticity and minimize dark spots. This agent can be added to your skin routine and comes in the form of a serum or moisturizer. 

Retinoids and retinol are vitamin A-based products that help fight signs of aging, improve collagen production and decrease skin irregularities. While this is a very effective solution, make sure to check with your dermatologist if it is safe for your skin as it can cause problems for individuals with dry skin or those that have frequent allergic reactions to skin products. 

Chemical peels are a type of facial treatment that “peels” off the outer layer of damaged skin. This process is used as an anti-aging method to reduce fine lines and also combats skin damage, including the reduction of age spots and dark patches. 

Dermabrasion is a surgical scraping procedure designed to remove sun-damaged skin. The effects of the procedure are long-lasting and effective, leaving your skin smoother and healthier. While it is hardly invasive, possible risks of dermabrasion include scarring, swelling, tissue damage and infection. 

Charleston Dermatology is here to help you care for your sun-damaged skin.

Here at Charleston Dermatology, we are not only comprised of board-certified dermatologists that are experts in the field but are committed to helping you achieve healthy skin that is safe from the sun’s harmful rays. Book an appointment with one of our amazing dermatologists today. 

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