How to fix sun damaged skin – by a top London dermatologist
-Jul 18, Caroline Blight, Health -
Hands up if you’ve been sunburnt this summer. The chances are that you might have been and, aware of the dangers, immediately regretted it. But, if you were a sun-worshiper when you were younger, you possibly weren’t even aware of the damage that the sun’s rays can do and are now wondering if there’s anything you can do to reverse it. We’ve spoken to a top Harley Street skin expert to find out how we can fix damaged skin.
While you may have developed a more sensible relationship with the sun as you have grown older and take care to avoid UV rays in the UK or abroad, what can you do about pre-existing damage? After all, 75% of skin aging is solely due to sun damage. When those UVA and UVB rays have already caused sunburn in the past and led to wrinkles and brown spots now, can you fix the older than its years skin you have been left with? Leading Dermatologist, Dr Daniel Glass from The Dermatology clinic London says that there is hope and you can reverse the signs of sun damage and skin ageing if you want to.
Start protecting your skin immediately
Before you start trying to undo the damage your skin has already sustained, you need to make sure you are protecting your skin right now. “Overexposure to the sun’s dangerous UV rays can also lead to more serious issues, such as skin cancer and since sun damage accumulates over time, it’s never too late to start a sun protection routine,” insists Daniel. Whilst most of us understand the importance of wearing sun cream on a hot sunny day, it is equally important to protect your skin all year around to prevent further sun damage and even try to reverse some of the damage that has already been done.
“Actively trying to get a sun tan is not advisable,” says Daniel. During the summer months or whilst on holiday in sunnier climes, avoid sitting out in the middle of the day. If you are exposed to sun, it is important to protect your skin with shade, clothing and a sun cream which protects you from UVB and UVA rays. “Both UVA and UVB can alter your skin and are associated with coarser wrinkling, leathering and sagging,” explains Daniel. “Ensure that you check the star rating on your sunscreen, as this refers to the amount of UVA protection a product provides, with five- star protection being the best. It is always best to apply your chosen, broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher, at least 30 minutes before you go outside and to reapply every 2 or 3 hours throughout the day.”
Exfoliate regularly to reverse the signs of skin ageing
You can improve the appearance of sun damaged skin with regular exfoliation because this helps get rid of any damaged, excess epidermal cells that cause the appearance of dull, weathered skin. There are a number of ways to do this so find the one which suits you be it a loofah, scrub, or home microdermabrasion kits. “Once the skin has been exfoliated, smoother, more toned skin cells can re-emerge,” says Daniel. “These effects can be further enhanced by replenishing the skin with a moisturiser after an exfoliation treatment and as part of your daily skincare regime.”
In addition to home treatments you might want to consider professional treatments like dermaplaning and dermabrasion, “These can help to trigger cell regeneration,” explains Daniel. During these treatments, sun-damaged skin is exfoliated and replaced with new skin growth that appears healthier and more vibrant.
Hydrate sun damaged skin away
Exposure to the sun, can dry out your skin, leaving it looking dull, leathery and lacklustre which in turn makes it look older. Make sure you keep it well-nourished and moisturised for a more youthful appearance. “Use a moisturiser with AHA or a facial serum with hyaluronic acid, which can help plump up any dry skin around the eyes, making skin instantly appear less wrinkled,” advises Daniel. If you keep it up you may help stimulate the production of new collagen, the protein which helps give skin its smooth texture and appearance.
How to remove sun spots from damaged skin
Liver spots, sun spots or age spots, whatever you call them they are one of the most recognisable signs of aging as they are rarely seen on younger people. Too much time in the sun can contribute to them: “Dark spots which can appear on your face are due to the overproduction of melanin, or skin pigment, and are often caused by overexposure to the sun, as well as aging, hormones and genetics,” explains Daniel. “There are many ways to lighten these dark spots, but as is the case with most treatments, results will vary greatly from person to person.”
There are several home treatments and products which can help to lighten skin tone, such as over the counter products containing kojic acid in combination with hydroquinone, Retin-A, and a mild steroid cream. “These are useful for stubborn brown spots and blotchy brown discoloration,” says Daniel. “These creams and treatments don’t whiten the skin; they simply help to lighten accumulations of unwanted colour, which in turn helps to reduce these brown spots.”
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