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Most of us long for the touch of the sun’s inviting warm glow and rays on our skin and make the most of the summer months. Too much exposure to the sun though, can cause long term and short term damage to the skin.

There are varying degrees of severity in sun damaged skin and different types of sun damage. The main types of sun damaged skin and their symptoms are:

  • Sunspots-  Their medical name is solar lentigines and they look like flat brownish spots on sun exposed parts of the skin. They darken the longer they are exposed to the sun.
  • Dry Skin- As the name suggests, the skin here is dry, flaky and a little more wrinkled than skin in other areas of your body that have not seen the sun. Dry skin also causes itchiness.
  • Sunburn- We’ve all suffered from sunburn at one stage in our lives. Slight sunburn manifests itself in redness on the exposed skin and tenderness, while more extreme cases result in sometimes agonising blisters and occasionally sickness and dizzy spells.
  • Actinic keratosis -This condition comes in the form of a small bump, which has a feel to it similar to sandpaper or a patch of peeling skin that could have a sharp surface with a pink, yellow, brownish or red colour to it. Initially, actinic keratosis can be pimple-sized. On occasion it may itch or be a little tender.
  • Long-term changes in the skin’s collagen- Collagen changes lead to deeper wrinkles or fine lines, and thicker skin. Sun exposed areas can become vulnerable to easy bruising, particularly on the forearms and backs of the hands.

Although sun damage can’t be reversed, the effects of the skin can be improved with various treatments. We offer Cryotherapy, for example that can freeze actinic keratosis with liquid nitrogen.

Skin peels can safely remove the top layer of the skin using a strong, yet harmless chemical solution, paving the way for normal healthy skin to grow back later.

Alternatively, our Dermaroller and Electric Skin Needling work in similar ways to each other, stimulating the skin, encouraging it to regenerate and repair itself naturally and safely.

 

Causes

Sunspots on skin are caused by UV rays from the sun, which result in the darkening of their colour. Even sun rays that travel through windows or bounce off water can increase and embolden sunspots. UV rays from tanning beds can also be a catalyst for sun spots.

Dry skin is a result of sun-exposed skin slowly losing moisture and essential oils. Even in younger people, this creates dry, flaky and untimely wrinkled skin.

Sunburn is a consequence to unprotected or overexposure to the sun’s UV radiation. In severe cases, sunburn symptoms can include large blisters or much smaller fluid-filled bumps (vesicles).

Enduring repeated exposure to sunlight or suffering from long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays are responsible for actinic keratosis. This type of sun damaged skin can be an important warning of increased skin cancer risk. Generally, fair-skinned people with lighter coloured eyes have a higher chance of developing sun-related skin damaged and cancers, due to their skin containing less of the dark pigment, melanin. This pigment helps protect the skin from the effects of UV rays, although darker skinned people can also be susceptible to sun damage.

Collagen in the skin is a structural protein. Actinic purpura is among the types of sun damage the skin can suffer. This is where fragile blood vessels bleed underneath the skin’s surface. UV radiation from sunlight damages the structural collagen protein that fortifies and hold the walls of the skin’s tiny blood vessels. In older people in particular, this collagen damage results in more fragile blood vessels that have a higher risk of rupture upon slight impacts.

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