Sun damage | How it ages your skin

November 9th, 2020

The sun’s rays can take a toll on your skin. In the short-term, that can mean contending with a scorching sunburn. But, there can also be long-term consequences lurking within the skin, even if you don’t experience a burn. The sun prematurely ages the skin. Called photoaging, this can lead to skin cancer.

It happens when ultraviolet (UV) light hits skin unprotected by sunscreen, causing DNA changes at a cellular level. Because photodamage happens in the deepest layers of the skin—the dermis—it can take years before the damage surfaces and becomes visible.

At Upper Hutt Skin Clinic, our Skin Cancer Doctors can help address the aesthetic concerns you may have if your skin is showing signs of photoaging. These signs can include brown spots, wrinkles, broken capillaries, and uneven skin texture. Our doctors are also experts in using the latest minimally invasive techniques to remove skin cancer while minimizing scarring and can address sun-induced precancers that, if left untreated, are at risk for developing into skin cancer. 

What are the signs of photoaging?

Unlike normal, chronological aging, which is dictated by age and genetics, photoaging happens when ultraviolet light from the sun and/or tanning beds permanently damages the skin’s structure. To see the difference between chronological aging and photoaging, compare skin on an area of your body that is not exposed to the sun with the skin on your face. 

Signs of photodamage begin in the teens to early twenties. Symptoms include the following:

  • Wrinkling
  • Pigmentation changes such as age spots, liver spots (solar lentigines) and freckles
  • Loss of skin tone (decreased elasticity)
  • Rough, uneven skin texture
  • Broken capillaries (spider veins), usually around the nose and chest
  • Redness and blotchiness

How can you prevent photodamage?

It’s never too late to practice good sun protection to prevent future photodamage. Dermatologists recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, which will shield skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Look for a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Water-resistant formulas are encouraged. Reapply every two hours or sooner if swimming or exercising.

What does Upper Hutt Skin Clinic offer patients with photodamaged skin?

Upper Hutt Skin Clinic offers a comprehensive approach to treating both the medical and cosmetic aspects of your skin. We will tailor treatments that are best for each patient and their specific concerns. We have a team of doctors who specialize in skin cancer detection and treatment, prevention and management of precancerous damage, and cosmetic concerns related to sun damaged skin.

Treatments include:

  • Microneedling
  • Microdermabrasion
  • Light therapy
  • Photodynamic therapy
  • Topical medications

Contact us

If you want to do something about your sun damaged skin, come in and speak to our friendly doctors and nurses. We have products and services that are only available through trained medical professionals.