FAQ: Is it possible to reverse sun damage on your skin?

Reversing sun damage

As the temperature finally drops, it’s time to count the sins of summer on our skin. Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause some serious skin damage – it’s estimated that 80% of visible skin ageing is due to UV exposure. This presents as wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, poor skin tone and texture and sagging skin. There is also the very real risk of developing skin cancer.

How does the sun damage your skin?

When the skin is exposed to sunlight, it manufactures vitamin D which is essential for many important body functions. The downside is that ultraviolet light in the sun rays can also cause lasting damage.

In the outer layer of the dermis, cells contain the pigment melanin which give skin its colour and which can change colour as a result of UVA and UVB exposure. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and give you that golden glow in the summer months but are also the cause of sunburn. Cellular turnover means that many of these pigmented cells will naturally disperse over time, but permanent changes can present as patches and spots of hyperpigmentation.

UVB rays have a longer wavelength and penetrate to a deeper level, permanently damaging the DNA of your skin cells and accelerating the breakdown of collagen and elastin which provide the supporting structure of your skin, resulting in fine lines and sagging skin. Hyaluronic acid, another natural component in the skin which traps moisture and gives the skin its plumpness, also depletes at a quicker rate due to sun damage.

Is sun damage reversible?

While a full reversal of sun damage isn’t possible, there are treatments and products that can partially reset the clock as well as prevent future damage.

Photodamage is occurring at the deepest layers of the skin so it can often be many years before the damage becomes visible but, the earlier you can address it, the better. The first step is always prevention of further damage, which is why we advise a broad-spectrum sunscreen such as the AlumierMD Sheer Hydration Broad Spectrum SPF 40. It is a sheer physical sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.

Skincare as the first line of defence

Medical-grade skincare is essential for reversing sun damage. Retinoids encourage cellular turnover and stimulate collagen and elastin production. UV radiation also causes an explosion of free radicals that damage skin cells through oxidative stress so look for products that are rich in antioxidants.

Boost cell turnover with a chemical peel

A facial peel can address many of the visible signs of photodamage, by removing the top layer of the skin and boosting cellular turnover. Dark spots and fine lines are greatly improved as a new, healthy, younger-looking complexion emerges.

Laser away the damage

A CO2 laser is the gold standard laser for treating superficial sun damage. It works by creating tiny injuries to the skin, stimulating the body’s natural healing process. Alexandrite and Nd:YAG lasers can target and destroy areas of excess pigment in the skin as the light energy is attracted to the colour in melanin.

For more advice on reversing sun damage in the skin, call 0115 772 2363 or email info@drcp-aesthetics.com to arrange a consultation with a skin expert.