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How does the sun damage your skin?

Everyone at some point in their life, or maybe even far too recently, has acquired a sunburn. Despite our best efforts, we’ve all been caught off guard by the rays of the sun and our shoulders or the bridge of our nose has paid the price. As common as this kind of sun damage is, that’s not the sun damage to which we’re referring to. The sun penetrates far deeper into our skin than just a surface burn, and it even changes how our skin operates and functions. It’s important to protect your skin in the summer because we frequently expose ourselves to the sun’s rays for long periods of time, but sun protection should ideally be taken into account all year ’round. If the sun doesn’t just burn you, then what else does it do? This is how the sun damages your skin.


Photoaging, or lines and wrinkles

Sun damage causes the visible signs of premature ageing to develop through the process known as photoaging. This comprises of premature wrinkles, loss of volume, and loss of structure in the skin. The sun’s rays break down collagen and elastin within the skin, two proteins essential to our skin’s firmness and laxity, leading to sagging folds and wrinkles. The UVA rays damage the collagen, which our body tries to prevent. However, this prevention often worsens the process and causes our skin to thin and fall after frequent exposure. Over time, the kind of damage continues to mount until it is noticeable in your skin, so preventative measures like broad spectrum sun protection is always the best course of action. Because these changes occur over time, you might not attribute them to sun exposure and continue to leave yourself vulnerable.


Hyperpigmentation and sun spots

Ultraviolent rays in the sun’s light prompt inflammation in the skin, leading to the development of sun spots and hyperpigmentation. This knee-jerk response is started as soon as we step into the sunlight, so repeatedly exposing your skin to the sun drastically increases this process. To combat the inflammation and protect us, our body produces hormones that encourage the production of excess melanin in the skin. This is in an effort to neutralise the damage being done to our skin, but after frequent sun exposure over the preceding years, these hormones remain active. Melanin production remains permanently active, so it continues to dark the skin that appear patchy and uneven. Sun spots develop in more concentrated areas of this melanin production, and often appear on the face, arms, and chest.


How can I repair sun damaged skin?

Repairing sun damaged skin depends on your area of concern, though there are a range of treatments for healthy skin.


Treating sun damaged skin with facial peels produces effective results while also tackling fine lines and wrinkles. A facial peel creates a controlled wound on the surface of the skin, forcing the skin into an internal healing process. The cells damaged by the peel are sloughed away by these processes, introducing fresh and new cells to take their place that are of your natural pigmentation. This also kick-starts the production of collagen to add volume from the inside-out.


Hydradermabrasion is a slightly more advanced method of treating sun damaged skin. Exfoliation using water infused with beneficial properties achieves toxin-free facial rejuvenation for fine lines, volume loss, and hyperpigmentation. It works to stimulate deeper layers of skin while thickening and smoothing the superficial layer, promoting healthy activity and healthy appearance.


Some professional skincare ranges, such as the Obagi Nu-Derm Medical System, have been specifically formulated to treat the health of skin. This system in particular improves dark spots and hyperpigmentation in sun damaged skin by utilising lightening properties. These properties also come with Vitamin A to inhibit melanin production, lessening its constant development and relieving you of patchy pigmentation. These products are only available through consultation with a medical doctor who provides this particular skincare system.


These treatments, and many more, are available at the Skin Doctor Clinics in York and Leeds. You’re of course invited and encouraged to come and see us for a consultation if you’re seeking to say goodbye to your sun damaged skin once and for all. Don’t be shy, enquire online today or speak to a member of our team!


Call us in York: 01904 633833 / Call us in Leeds: 0113 278 3344