Q: I've seen what the sun has done to the skin of chronic or former sunbathers and tanning bed users. But what kinds of cellular changes or damage does it do to the skin of someone who doesn't lay out in the sun or live in a hot climate?
How can I undo—or at least reduce—some of the damage that the sun has already done to my complexion? — Angie
A: Angie, thank you for your question.
First of all, prevention is very important. It is never too late to start.
I would suggest you practice sun safety and prevent future burns as best you can. I recommend an SPF of 30 or higher. Make sure your sunscreen gives you broad-spectrum UVA and UVB protection.
It is hard to reverse the damage from the sun once you have it.
If you have visible signs of damage, such as pigmentation, and you want to improve them, then you can consider light or laser treatments.
- IPL (intense pulsed light) or photorejuvenation: Delivers pulses of light to the skin, stimulating collagen renewal. No downtime is required.
- Fractionated Erbium lasers: High-energy lasers that perform a deep resurfacing of the skin. These do require recovery time.
Both can reduce the signs of sun damage, such as:
- Fine wrinkles
- Irregular pigmentation
- Appearance of large pores
- Brown age spots
- Dilated capillaries
However, they likely do not reverse the damage. Nor do they reverse the risks associated with prior sun exposure.
I suggest you see your local dermatologist for options.
Dr. Nowell Solish is one of Canada's top cosmetic dermatologists, with an office at 66 Avenue Road, Suite 1, in Toronto. Call 416-964-8888 to book an appointment.
Disclaimer: This information is for general purposes only and is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical condition or question. Dr. Solish recommends that you consult your physician or other medical professional for insight into your specific condition and medical options.