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How to Reverse Sun Damage

Jun 20, 2020

Are you heading into another summer with sun-damaged skin? While it’s best to avoid excessive sun exposure in the first place to help prevent skin cancer, it’s also possible to turn back the clock on some of the damage that has already been done. Here’s how.

Treat Sunburns Immediately

Our society views tan skin as a desirable trait, but tanning is a form of sun damage. It’s the result of your skin amping up its melanin production in self-defense against UV rays. Sunburns indicate even more severe damage. Burned skin is so injured that it often peels, which is the body’s way of eliminating the damaged cells.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to heal sunburned skin instantly. To speed up the process, apply aloe vera as soon as possible. Then, prevent irritating your skin by taking cool showers or baths. Avoid sun exposure while your skin heals, and don’t pick at or exfoliate the peeling areas. If you remove dead skin before it’s ready, you could end up with scars.

Soothe Dry Skin

With or without sunburn, exposing your skin to excessive UV rays can dry it out. To combat the appearance of dull, flaky skin, use high-quality moisturizer and exfoliate once or twice a week (being careful to avoid any sunburned areas). Applying topical vitamins C and E can also help repair damaged skin cells.

When the weather starts to turn colder in the fall, your skin may continue to face dryness as the humidity level drops. Keep up your moisturizing regimen, and continue to wear sunscreen when outside for prolonged periods. Remember, just because the air is cooling off doesn’t mean the risk of sunburn is gone!

Reduce the Appearance of Sun Spots

Dark areas of skin can take on many forms, including freckles, moles, birthmarks, and sunspots. These are all examples of hyperpigmentation resulting from high concentrations of melanin. Sunspots are larger and more irregularly shaped than freckles and moles. They typically appear on parts of the body that receive the most sun, including the face, chest, neck, and hands.

You can help sunspots fade naturally by adding topical vitamin C to your daily skincare regimen. As an antioxidant, vitamin C helps your skin heal and restore its natural pigment after a month or more of consistent use.

Another option is to schedule Intensive Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment. This gentle, effective therapy corrects a variety of cosmetic skin conditions, including sunspots and other signs of photo-aging. Broad-spectrum light penetrates the tissue, changing from light to heat energy as it reaches the collagen beneath the skin’s surface. There, it removes unwanted pigment to give the skin a more youthful appearance.

Keep tabs on your sun-damaged skin. If you notice anything concerning, or you’re interested in learning more about our cosmetic procedures to help you look and feel your best, please call Arlington Dermatology at (847) 725-0824 or contact us online. We would be pleased to meet with you for a consultation at our Rolling Meadows, IL clinic.