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The lasting danger of sun damage to your face and skin

The risks and causes of sun damage to your skin

Many of us love to sit out in the garden as much as we can during the summer months – and let’s face it, we need to get as much vitamin D as possible in the UK! However, we cannot see the damage that a day in the sun can do to our face and skin until it’s often too late. Sun damage from UV exposure is hazardous to our health and well-being and can lead to DNA changes that cause cancer. This month, Imperial Aesthetics looks at the danger of sun damage and what treatments can be offered to combat the effects of continued exposure to the sun.

The difference between chronological skin ageing and photoaging

Chronological skin ageing – The natural ageing of your skin due to your genetics and age. Whilst this is not preventable, many treatments and skincare products are available that help reduce and reverse natural signs of ageing.

Photoaging – The continued exposure to UV radiation (generally from the sun). Photoaging can cause DNA changes in your cells that lead to cancer and long-term sun damage to your skin. Precautions, including good-quality sunscreen, can be taken to reduce and prevent photoaging.

We all should be aware of skin damage from the sun and actively seek to protect ourselves against it. Sun exposure can cause various skin conditions, ranging from wrinkles and uneven pigmentation to skin cancer. Anyone is at risk for sun-damaged skin, although those with paler tones, a history of skin cancer or family members carrying the disease are particularly susceptible.

Individuals with many moles or freckles that burn before tanning are also more prone to harm from excessive UV radiation. To protect yourself, it’s important that you take precautions such as using sunscreen with a high SPF rating before going outside for any extended period and wearing protective clothing when possible.

Symptoms that you have sun damage on your face 

Sunburn – the most obvious and immediate sign of sun damage is sunburn – when your skin turns pink and painful. In some serious cases, sunburn can even lead to peeling or blistered skin. Whilst sunburn doesn’t stay around forever, continued signs of sunburn over a longer period will lead to sun damage on your face.

Dry skin – the sun can be very drying, often leaving rough patches on your skin. A gentle exfoliator will help remove dry and flaky skin, but this may be a sign of longer-term sun damage that needs further treatment.

Wrinkles – UV rays will bring down collagen and elastin in your skin – the two proteins that help to keep your skin smooth and firm. Once wrinkles appear, only treatment with a trusted aesthetics doctor will help to reduce lines and replace the firmness in your skin.

Sunspots – Our skin creates a chemical called melanin to help protect itself against sun rays, but too much sun will cause this chemical to clump, which will, in turn, form a dark spot known as sunspots or age spots.

Melasma – Similarly to sunspots, it is thought that too much sun on the face can cause our melanin production to go into overdrive, creating a collection of spots or brown patches on the skin. Melasma can be treated in the same way as sunspots.

Actinic Keratosis (AK) – If you have crusty patches on your skin, this could be a sign of AK. One of the biggest concerns with this symptom is that it could turn into skin cancer without treatment.

Treating your sun damage and protecting your skin

Paths to improved health come in many forms, and one of those important forms is limiting exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. UV rays can cause skin cancer, premature ageing, cataracts, and other medical issues. To protect yourself, you should follow a few guidelines.

Imperial Aesthetics recommends using sunscreen with an SPF 30 or greater to protect against UV radiation. Make sure to purchase a broad-exposure product that defends against both UVA and UVB rays for maximum protection. In addition, get to know your body: pay attention to its reactions from being out in the sun so you can understand how much time it’s safe for you to stay in direct sunlight.

For those times when it’s not possible to avoid being out in the sun, seek shade whenever possible and wear protective clothing such as hats, long-sleeved shirts, and trousers when necessary. Following these simple recommendations can make all the difference in keeping healthy and protecting your skin from further damage due to exposure to sunlight.

Treatments that could help with sun damage

Fortunately, once you recognise the symptoms of sun damage, there are many ways to treat it effectively. For milder forms of sun damage, such as freckles and age spots, treatments such as deep exfoliation or Tixel can help reduce their appearance. If you’re looking for a more intensive treatment for deeper wrinkles related to UV-induced collagen depletion, dermal fillers or lip fillers can be used with great results. Additionally, injectables like botulinum toxin can also help relax facial muscles that have become tense from repetitive movements associated with sun exposure. Finally, micro-needling can be used to stimulate your skin’s natural collagen production for an overall plumping effect on sun-damaged areas.

If you are concerned that you may have signs of AK on your face or body, we recommend booking an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible to ensure a biopsy is taken of the affected area.

This may also interest you: 

The advantages of Aqualyx fat-dissolving injections in 2023

5 things that could be causing your jowls to appear

A course of Tixel® treatment could banish those blemishes!

Book a course of treatment with Imperial Aesthetics

At Imperial Aesthetics, we want you to love the skin you were born with. But when you face the lasting effects of sun damage, this can cause confidence and body issues that nobody should be dealing with. Our range of treatments focuses on bringing back your confidence without invasive procedures that require further downtime.

For more information or to book a consultation with Dr Daniel Hunt to discuss your sun damage concerns in more detail, get in touch today. We look forward to helping you reverse the damaging effects of too much time in the sun!

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