Turns out, your mom was not being a nag when she told you to put on your sunscreen before heading to the beach or pool. The sun can feel so good when it warms your face and body and  there are plenty of benefits  to soaking up some natural Vitamin D on a regular basis. However, even when it is partially blocked by clouds and doesn’t ‘feel’ like a sunny day, the sun always gives off ultraviolet (UV) light that is damaging to your skin,can cause sunburn and long-term damage to your skin. In fact, exposure to UV light is one of the primary reason’s your skin looks older than you are.

Five Common Signs of Sun Damaged Skin

Sadly, there are many more than those listed here, but these five are of the more common and visible outcomes of sun damage:

  • Wrinkles
  • Changes in pigmentation such as freckles, age spots, melasma
  • Dry “alligator” skin
  • Spider veins
  • Blotchy skin and red patches

Treatments for Sun Damaged Skin

UV rays can change your DNA, which unfortunately is damage that is not reversible. That being said, there are some viable treatment options to slow down some of the harmful effects of sun damage on your skin that you can do at home. Here are some options worth exploring:

  • Focus on the basics - good nutrition, limit alcohol intake and get plenty of sleep. Concentrate on healing your skin from the inside out with healthy foods rich in antioxidants, healthy fatty acids and nutrients. Steer clear of too much beer or wine which can dehydrate your skin, and focus on increasing your water intake.
  • Skin-lightening products that contain glycolic acid, hydroquinone and kojic acid can soften dark spots caused by the sun.
  • Creams and serums infused with Retinol are very effective in diminishing wrinkles and accelerate the skin’s ability to shed damaged, pigmented skin. These are most potent when used overnight, as exposure to sunlight can negate their potential effectiveness.

Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion, and Laser Therapy are more aggressive professional treatments and surgical procedures that actually remove the outermost layers of skin where you see the visible damage, and expose new, healthier skin. Since people respond differently to these more intensive treatments, it is always recommended to consult with a dermatologist to assess what options would work best for your skin type and the issues you are looking to correct.

After one bad sunburn, your skin is already vulnerable to long term damage. Taking the steps to treat and protect your skin for long-lasting results is surely a gift worth giving yourself.