The sun’s warmth on your skin is one of the greatest feelings in the world, but unfortunately that feeling often comes with a price – sun damage. Unprotected skin is vulnerable to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which can cause long-term changes to your skin.
Sun damage comes in many forms, but some of the most common types include:
- Dry skin – When exposed to excessive amounts of sun, your skin can slowly lose natural moisture and essential oils. This can cause your skin to appear dry or flaky – resulting in an aged appearance.
- Sunburn – Sunburn is a skin injury that occurs after the skin is exposed to UV radiation. Mild to moderate sunburn results in skin reddening and discomfort, but more severe cases can result in vesicles (fluid-filled bumps) or large blisters.
- Actinic keratosis – When exposed to the sun for a long period of time, small rough patches may develop on your skin. It is possible for actinic keratosis to eventually turn into skin cancer.
- Premature aging – UV damage to your skin can cause structural changes to the collagen beneath your skin, which ultimately results in fine lines and wrinkles.
Repeated unprotected sun exposure can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer. As a general rule, men and women with fair skin and light eyes are at an increased risk. This is due to a lack of melanin in the skin (which shields the skin from UV rays).
Wearing a daily SPF of 30 or greater is the best way to protect your skin from sun damage, but for some of us, the damage has already been done. If you’re unhappy with how sun damage has impacted your appearance, there are a variety of cosmetic treatment options available that can help:
- Laser resurfacing (CO2 laser)
- Laser rejuvenation
- IPL photofacial
- Chemical peel