Can Skin Sun Damage Be Reversed?
- Theresa, age 22 asks – How can I hide my freckles? I’m a red head but want to look like I have smooth skin. I’ve tried every foundation and powder. Is there anything I can do?
- Nancy, age 33 asks – I have really dark brown patches on my forehead. Is that from the sun? How do you bleach that out?
- Rhonda, age 58 asks – I have really bad age spots on my hands. How can I get rid of them
These are important questions and since they are related, I like to answer them together:
Skin ageing is inevitable – Having your skin looking old is optional.
This I true statement any time in our life – we want our skin to look its best for its age. In addition to natural skin ageing, smoking and pollution, sun damage is the greatest threat to skins ability to function and look its best. Sun is great for us and we all need it but excessive sun exposure is harmful. Increase and disorganized skin pigmentation are some of the ways that our skin tells us that it had enough sun – it is time to stop the ongoing harm and possibly reverse negative changes in your skin.
How does skin sun damage happen?
Skin sun damage happens when excess sun exposure interacts with your skin. The sunrays cause damage to the DNA making your skin work improperly. Although, most of the damage can be repaired by our bodies, some of the damage can persist and accumulate over time. Eventually, so much damage is accumulated that we loose collagen and elastic tissues making our skin saggy and loose. Also, the skin color becomes uneven with different shades of red and brown becoming more pronounced.
What can be done to reverse the sun damage?
The good news is that some or most of the sun damage can be reversed when detected and treated early. The most common treatments are sun protection, topical vitamin A acid derivatives, chemical peels, IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) or laser therapies or Thermage treatments. The key is to see your dermatologist, your skin expert, to detect and recommend corrective treatments.
How can brown spots on my skin be minimized?
Brown spots on the skin are a marker of sun damage or skin’s inability to handle excessive sun exposure. The lighter the hair color (blond or red), the lighter the color of your eyes, the more challenges your skin has to sun exposure. Fortunately, brown spots can be treated with the combination of prevention and active treatment. Sun protection (clothing and sunscreens), topical vitamin A acid derivatives (e.g. Retin-A, Differin or Tazorac) as well as chemical peels and IPL treatments can help to reduce the unsightly brown spots and renew your skin. Any sun-exposed areas can be treated (e.g. face, neck as well as hands). Dermatologist assessment is recommended as not all brown spots are alike and some of them can be more dangerous than others.
The information provided on this website is for Canadian patients only and is meant for information and education that is based on experience and research.