5 surprising signs of sun damage

sun damage removal

Fine lines, loss of elasticity and poor skin texture, might all seem like the inevitable consequences of the ageing process, but chronological or intrinsic ageing is only one factor in the changes we see in the mirror.

Extrinsic ageing, on the other hand, is controllable. It is brought about by external factors such as lifestyle choices like smoking, drinking alcohol and poor diet. However, the main culprit is exposure to the sun and ultraviolet or UV light. Known as photoageing, it accelerates how quickly we age, and research indicates that it is responsible for 90% of visible changes to the skin.

We know that too much UV radiation from the sun is the main cause of skin cancer in the UK, but as next week is Sun Awareness Week, we look at some of the other signs of sun damage and possible treatment options to reverse these skin changes.

  1. Collagen loss & wrinkles

Collagen along with elastin are important components in the skin that keep the skin firm and supple. From your mid-20s onwards, your natural levels of these proteins start to deplete but sun exposure can accelerate their loss. This is why areas of exposed skin such as the face, neck and decolletage and hands are more prone to wrinkling than areas where the sun doesn’t shine!

Your treatment options: Polynucleotides is an exciting new treatment in aesthetics as it boosts your body’s natural fibroblast production. According to clinical trials, collagen levels may be boosted by as much as 47% in 23 days, firming up skin elasticity and reversing changes from sun damage.

  1. Pigmentation concerns

There are several skin changes that can be linked to sun damage. Freckles, brown spots or solar lentigos and areas of hyperpigmentation or skin discolouration are all caused by the effect of the sun on our melanocytes or pigment-producing cells that give skin its colour.

When the skin is exposed to the sun, melanin production increases, which is the body’s natural defence mechanism against sunburn and what gives us the golden tan we love. However, when they can’t act quickly enough, we end up with sun burn and repeated exposure causes the over-production of melanin or hyperpigmentation.

Your treatment options: It’s essential you protect your skin from further sun damage which can cause hyperpigmentation to reoccur, but a medium-depth chemical peel such as The Perfect Peel can be a highly effective treatment to reduce or eradicate pigmentary changes to the skin. It contains Glutathione, which is proven to reverse melanin’s metabolism, lightening dark pigmentation.

  1. Facial redness & broken capillaries 

If you’ve noticed red, spidery veins across the cheeks and around the nose, then you’re likely to be experiencing sun damage. Genetics and the skin condition Rosacea could also be factors, but exposure to UV rays will thin the skin at the same time as the dilation of the blood vessels, leading to the appearance of telangiectasia.

Your treatment options: Vbeam is a laser specifically designed for the treatment of telangiectasias. It emits a burst of light that is tuned precisely to target the red pigment in blood and blood vessels while leaving the surrounding skin undamaged. In a clinical study, after an average of 3 sessions, patients with blood vessels on the face had a visual improvement of 75% to 100%. 

  1. Acne

UV rays can have an anti-inflammatory effect which is why some people with acne or blemish-prone skin feel that their skin can improve with moderate sun exposure. However, too much sun can actually worsen acne.

Even if your skin is very oily, it also needs moisture. Too much sun exposure dries out the skin which causes the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive which is a common factor in acne. Cell turnover is also slowed down, preventing you shedding dry skin cells and trapping oil and bacteria in the pores.

Your treatment options: The ClearSkin laser deeply penetrates the skin, destroying acne-causing bacteria and reducing sebum production. Acne often requires a multi-treatment approach so ClearSkin can be combined with treatments that speed up cell turnover such as Obagi skin peels.

  1. Dehydrated skin

One of the long-term consequences of sun damage is dull, dry and uneven skin tone and texture, caused by stripping the skin of essential fatty acids and slowing down cell renewal. In the outermost layers of the dermis, water content in the skin is depleted and the Natural Moisturising Factor (NMF) is damaged as the skin barrier breaks down.

Your treatment options: Hyaluronic acid is a component found naturally in the dermis which can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water and is responsible for the skin looking plump and hydrated. Profhilo contains one of the highest concentrations of pure hyaluronic acid and deeply hydrates the skin, improving moisture retention and creating a smoother complexion.

For more advice on reversing sun damage, call 0207 432 8727 to arrange a consultation with one of our aesthetic experts.