Repair and Even Reverse Sun Damage

Are you concerned about brown spots, wrinkles, and sun damaged skin? These simple guidelines from The Skin Cancer Foundation can help you repair and even reverse signs of skin aging, up to 90 percent of which are caused by the sun.

Exposure to the sun's dangerous ultraviolet (UV) light can also lead to skin cancer and precancers like actinic keratoses (AKs). Sun damage accumulates over time, but it's never too late to start a sun protection regimen.

Although most people know enough to wear sunscreen when the it’s a sunny day, protecting your skin from the sun should be something we do every day of the year. You can prevent further sun damage and may even reverse some of the damage already done by applying sunscreen every 2-3 hours while in direct or indirect sun exposure.

To help stop or even reverse sun damage to the skin:

  1. Use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher. Sunscreen is one of the keys to radiant, youthful-looking skin. Daily use may even lower your long-term risk of skin cancer. By reducing your daily sun exposure, sunscreen allows your skin time to heal and your immune system the chance to repair some existing damage.
  2. Exfoliate. The buildup of stratum corneum (the dead, outermost skin cell layer) can make skin appear blotchy and uneven. Also, remnants of self-tanning products can collect in typically dry areas (such as the elbows), causing the skin to lose its luster and appear "dirty." Loofahs, scrubs, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)* cleansers, and home microdermabrasion kits (in which tiny crystals are sprayed on the skin) can remove dead skin cells, leaving skin looking smoother.
  3. Bleach the brown spots. A Skin lightener does not actually make the skin white; it simply helps to lighten accumulations of unwanted color. Talk to Dr. Wolthoff or Dr. Thrash for their recommendations. 
  4. Hydrate. Summer exposure to sun, chlorine, and salt water can dry out your skin - even the heels of your feet can be affected. Try a hand and body cream, and, for the heels, a moisturizing foot cream. A moisturizer with AHA or facial serum with hyaluronic acid can plump up dry skin around the eyes, making skin instantly appear less wrinkled. Continued use may help stimulate the production of new collagen, a protein that helps give skin its texture and appearance.
  5. Visit Highland Dermatology. Professional laser treatments can improve everything from blotchiness and discoloration to wrinkles. Photodynamic therapy - laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) in combination with a topical solution known as Levulan (aminolevulinic acid) - can remove scaly patches of actinic keratoses from your skin.