How to Get Rid of Sun Damage on the Face
Sunlight is beneficial, and some sun exposure helps improve mood, enhance the immune system and increase bone strength. Yet spending too much time in direct sunlight puts a person at risk of excess ultraviolet (UV) radiation exposure that damages the skin. Thus, it is important for a person to understand how to protect the skin against excess sun exposure — otherwise, an individual risks sun spots on the face and related skin issues.
How Much Sun Is Too Much?
The amount of UV radiation that the skin can handle varies based on the individual. For example, research indicates that UV radiation starts damaging the skin of fair-skinned people after about 5 to 10 minutes of sun exposure. On the other hand, people with dark-brown skin may be able to spend more than 60 minutes in the sun before they experience sun damage caused by overexposure to UV radiation.
For people who are unsure about how much sun that their skin can handle, help is available. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency offers the UV Index to help people determine how much time to spend in the sun on a given day. This index predicts the risk of UV overexposure on a scale of 0 (minimal risk) to 11+ (very high risk). It also accounts for a location’s altitude, the time of year and other factors to help people analyze the strength of the sun’s UV rays and how quickly these rays can damage the skin.
What Happens If the Skin Is Exposed to Excess Amounts of UV Radiation?
Sun-damaged skin causes a person to look older than his or her actual age. It results in a variety of skin issues, including:
A sunburn refers to red, painful skin that feels hot to the touch. It occurs due to prolonged UV radiation exposure and increases a person’s risk of other skin problems. Additionally, repeated sun exposure that leads to sunburns may make a person more susceptible to melanoma and other types of skin cancer.
2. Dry Skin
Excess UV radiation exposure reduces the skin’s elasticity. It also causes the skin to lose moisture and essential oils. The result: dry, coarse skin.
Overexposure to UV radiation drives the formation of free radicals, unstable atoms that damage cells, in the skin. It damages elastin fibers in the skin, and in doing so, causes wrinkles to form.
Melasma is a skin problem that causes an individual to develop grey-brown patches on the face. The condition may cause grey-brown patches to form on the nose, forehead and chin and above the upper lip. Melasma is more prevalent in individuals with darker complexions who are exposed to high amounts of UV radiation for an extended period of time.
5. Sun Spots
Sun spots are flat, brown spots that form on sun-damaged areas of the skin. They are often smooth and do not cause any pain. However, sun spots are sometimes signs of excess sun exposure, and in certain instances, a sun spot may be a warning sign of skin cancer.
The longer that sun-damaged skin goes untreated, the worse it becomes. Over time, an individual may even experience actinic keratoses, pre-cancerous skin growths that sometimes turn into cancer. Fortunately, if an individual understands how to reverse sun damage, he or she can limit the impact of excess sun exposure.
Can You Reverse Sun Damage?
Many treatments are available to help reverse sun damage, including:
1. Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing involves the use of DOT Deka laser skin treatments to correct blemishes, wrinkles, scars and other facial skin damage. The treatment is available to individuals dealing with virtually any dermatological condition, and it helps treat melasma, freckles and other types of sun-damaged skin. Also, laser skin resurfacing is sometimes performed in combination with Botox and other non-surgical facial rejuvenation procedures to revitalize a person’s facial appearance.
2. Chemical Peel
A chemical peel requires a chemical solution to remove the outer layer of sun-damaged skin. It helps smooth out skin and minimize the appearance of facial wrinkles. A chemical peel may also be used across an individual’s face, neck and hands.
With microdermabrasion, tiny grains, crystals or diamond tips are used to remove the outer layer of sun-damaged skin and help stimulate collagen growth. Microdermabrasion is sometimes performed after Botox or other facial rejuvenation procedures as well.
Retinoids are compounds that stimulate the growth of collagen, the body’s most abundant protein. They are found in many over-the-counter skincare products and help minimize the appearance of fine lines and dark spots. Before using retinoid products, it is important to consult with a dermatologist; that way, an individual can determine which retinoid products and other skincare products to use and gradually integrate them into his or her skincare regimen.
Beta-carotene is a red-orange pigment found in colorful fruits and vegetables, and it is converted into vitamin A in the body. Beta-carotene supports healthy skin and mucous membranes, as well as good eye health and vision.
In addition to the aforementioned treatments, many natural options are available to treat sun-damaged skin.
How to Repair Sun-Damaged Skin on the Face Naturally
Natural ways to treat sun-damaged skin include:
1. Get Sufficient Rest
Getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night helps reduce the risk of wrinkles, sagging skin and other facial skin problems. It also ensures that the body can deliver sufficient fluids to organs and tissues to lower the risk of skin problems like acne and psoriasis.
2. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Fruits and vegetables contain high levels of antioxidants that help repair damaged skin cells. Furthermore, maintaining a diet rich in nuts, olive oil, fish, whole grains and other healthy fats helps minimize the risk of skin cancer related to overexposure to UV radiation.
3. Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise helps increase blood flow to carry oxygen and nutrients to working cells across the body. At the same time, regular exercise helps the body eliminate free radicals and other waste products that otherwise damage the skin.
4. Alleviate Stress
Stress increases the production of cortisol, a hormone that helps the brain control mood. Cortisol also prevents the skin from retaining water, and it may cause a person’s blood sugar level to spike, leading to collagen and elastin damage. To prevent these issues, an individual can practice mediation, yoga, deep breathing and other stress-relieving activities.
5. Avoid Alcohol
Alcohol contains excess amounts of sugar, and it triggers the glycation process that destroys collagen and elastin. By limiting his or her alcohol consumption, an individual can reduce the risk of wrinkles, spider veins and other visible signs of aging in the face.
Keeping the skin looking vibrant and youthful is sometimes challenging, but the aforementioned tips offer natural ways to help correct sun-damaged skin. There are also several things that people can do every day to help limit the risk of skin damage, including:
- Use Sunscreen: Sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 15 or higher helps reduce the risk of sun-damaged skin. It should be applied generously approximately every two hours or more frequently as needed.
- Wear Protective Clothing: Wearing a hat, sunglasses and other protective clothing helps ensure that an individual can enjoy time in the sun without putting his or her skin in danger.
- Find Shade: If the sun feels too strong, seek out shade immediately.
Skincare is key, particularly when it comes to avoiding sun-damaged skin. By exploring all available sun damage treatment options, an individual can determine the best course of action to address sun-damaged skin and prevent it from becoming a recurring problem.
Evaluate Your Sun Damage Treatment Options
Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF) reports that 20% of Americans develop skin cancer by the age of 70, and having five or more sunburns doubles a person’s risk of melanoma. Conversely, SCF notes that the five-year survival rate for melanoma is 99% when it is detected early.
If an individual takes the time to identify and treat sun-damaged skin now, he or she can prevent long-term skin issues. By working with Dr. Babak Azizzadeh of the CENTER for Advanced Facial Plastic Surgery, an individual can find a safe, effective way to address his or her sun-damaged skin.
Dr. Azizzadeh is a globally recognized facial plastic and reconstructive surgeon who understands how to treat sun-damaged skin. He offer holistic treatment of sun-damaged skin, and he ensures that each of his patients can correct sun spots, wrinkles and other facial skin issues. Dr. Azizzadeh also tailors each treatment to his patient to deliver the best-possible facial rejuvenation results.
Schedule a Skincare Treatment Consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh Today
Dr. Azizzadeh is available to meet with an individual and explore different ways to treat his or her sun-damaged skin. To schedule a skincare treatment consultation with Dr. Azizzadeh, please call us today at 310-657-2203.