How Sunlight Damages Your Skin

Hope for Photoaged Skin

When you look into the mirror does the reflection smiling back at you seem to have lost some of its sparkle? Do you see freckles, fine lines, wrinkles, and rough texture that weren’t there just last year? All of these are signs of photoaging, the cumulative result of hours spent in sunlight. We don’t become aware of the damage until it seemingly appears “overnight.” The good news is there are ways to prevent further damage, as well as restore your skin’s appearance.

How Sunlight Damages Your Skin

When ultraviolet light (UV) waves penetrate your skin, they damage its DNA causing your skin cells to produce melanin to prevent further damage. (The production of melanin causes your skin to tan.) UV radiation is composed of UVA (longer waves) and UVB (shorter waves). UVB rays are the main contributor to sunburn, while the UVA rays cause most of the damage we see as photoaging.
The results of photoaging will vary depending upon the individual, but freckles, melasma (brown or gray pigmentation), actinic keratoses (AK), and texture changes are all indications that the skin suffers from photoaging damage.

An Ounce of Prevention

Whether or not you are already seeing signs of photoaging skin, you can take steps to ward off damage from harmful UV sunlight. Practice sun safety and limit or avoid exposure to sunlight in the middle of the day when the UV rays are strongest; wear sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 whenever you are outside; and consider covering or shading exposed skin with long-sleeved shirts, pants, and broad-brimmed hats.

Treatments for Sun-Damaged Skin

It is possible to reverse the signs of aging and sun damage. The IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) laser treats multiple signs of damage at once – photo damage, uneven skin tone, and weathered texture. When combined with prescriptive treatments that use retinoids and others, the results can be quite dramatic. Another state-of-the art method uses the carbon dioxide laser which resurfaces the skin and leaves healthy tissue intact while refreshing the tone and texture of photo-damaged skin. Another laser that uses multiple wavelengths of light can target different ranges of color in the skin to remove freckles, age spots, and other forms of photo damage.

Derick Dermatology – Experts in Skin Care

All the caring professionals at Derick are ready to give you the quality care you expect and deserve. We offer medical, surgical, and cosmetic treatments to treat a variety of skin conditions.

If you are suffering from the effects of photoaged skin, or have other concerns you would like to discuss, call us at (847) 381-8899 to schedule a consultation. With 12 locations in the greater Chicago area, we are sure to have a convenient location to serve you. Choose from our offices in Arlington Heights, Barrington, Bartlett, Buffalo Grove, Crystal Lake, Elgin, Libertyville, Lindenhurst, McHenry, Naperville, Oak Brook, or Park Ridge.