The majority of us love the sun and spending time outdoors when the skies are bright and clear of clouds. The dangers of the sun for our skin, however, are very well known. More so now than ever, thanks to advances in dermatology and research into the skin. Despite this common knowledge, The Laser Treatment Clinic and many other skincare clinics, offering sun damaged skin treatment, see hundreds of clients each year looking to reverse the damages of sun exposure on their skin. This becomes a particular concern when the face has been affected and begins showing signs of premature ageing, as a result.
What Causes Sun Damaged Skin?
Sun damaged skin is caused by exposure to the very harsh and damaging UVA and UVB rays emitted by the sun. These rays are also found in sun beds. Your exposure to these rays will have an impact on your skin, often resulting in a changed in texture, premature ageing, and the appearance of sunspots.
The dangers of sun exposure
As many we know, the initial danger of overexposure to the sun is sunburn. Which is both painful and damaging for the skin in the long-term. Sunburn is the initial damage sun exposure will cause to the skin. Overtime this can become long-term damage, appearing in a number of ways. Such as premature ageing and a change to the skin’s texture.
A more threatening danger of sun exposure is the risk of skin cancer. This type of cancer is now one of the most common cancers to occur amongst adults. Which is why it is very important we are vigilant when outside, even when there are clouds in the sky.
How to avoid sun damage
To avoid sun damaged skin when outside, here are some very simple and easy steps to incorporate into your life.
- Always wear SPF, particularly on your face. Apply this as part of your morning skin care routine
- Wear protective clothing. For example, when out in the sun, wear a hat or cap, long sleeves, a shirt which covers your shoulders etc.
- Wear sunglasses to protect both your eyes and the sensitive skin around your eyes. This will help to prevent the appearance of fine lines around your eyes.
- Avoid the sun (where possible) when it is at its strongest and most likely to cause sun burns. This is usually within the middle of the day.
- Minimise time spent in direct sun light, particularly when sunbathing.
How to choose the right SPF
Most people already know the importance of SPF, which stands for sun protection factor. However, lots of people notoriously choose the wrong SPF for their skin or forget to wear it at all. When choosing an SPF for your skin it is important you read the product information. The bottle will often tell you the strength of the SPF in the form of a number. This number indicates how well the product will protect you from UVB, these are the rays of the sun which will burn the skin. Anything higher than SPF 30 should be used by everybody. Those who are more likely to burn, or for people who have had skin cancer before, there are SPFs available of 45+. We should note, preventing sun burn is not the only reason SPF exists. By wearing SPF, you will be reducing the potential damage to the skin which will be much more permanent than the initial sun burn.
What does sun damaged skin look like?
Sun damaged skin can appear in a number of ways. Most people will find they are experiencing one or more of the following:
- Premature wrinkles
- Brown spots
- Thick, leathery texture to the skin
- Actinic keratosis – dry scaly patches of skin that have been damaged by the sun.
- Actinic cheilitis – a type of precancerous skin change that occurs on the lips.
It’s typical to find sun damaged skin across parts of the body which are more frequently exposed to the sun. Like your face and chest.
Treating the appearance of sun damaged skin
For treating skin that has already suffered the damages of sun exposure, laser treatments are an option. Some lasers will have been designed to target the pigment melanin. This is what causes sunspots in areas where the sun has damaged the skin. Others will work to repair the texture of the skin, rejuvenating the skin’s appearance. To find out more about laser treatments for the skin, it is always a good idea to speak to a professional with experience in this field.