Whether we are driving, walking to the car or enjoying a day at the beach, we are exposing our skin to the sun’s harmful UV rays. After years of continuous sun exposure, brown spots, wrinkles and pre-cancerous lesions can develop which are all visible signs of sun damage. Since sun damage is cumulative, the best practice is prevention. Daily broad-spectrum sunscreen use and frequent reapplication. Wearing a hat and sun protective clothing are also important to prevent additional sun damage.
You can help minimize the effects of the sun’s UV rays with these great sun protection tips recommended by the providers at Dermatology + Aesthetics.
What are the different types of sun damage?
The cumulative effect of sun damage leads to varying physical changes to the skin. The descriptions below help identify what some of these changes can be:
Lentigo: Flat brown spot, with a clearly defined border, often referred to as a “sunspot.”
Poikiloderma: Brown pigmentation, redness and dilated blood vessels on the sides of the neck and chest.
Telengiectasias: Dilation of small blood vessels commonly seen on the cheeks, nose, chin and chest.
Actinic Keratoses (pre-cancerous lesion): Persistent rough, scaly spots that appear on sun exposed areas due to years of sun exposure. A small percentage of these lesions left untreated can develop into skin cancer, especially squamous cell carcinoma.
What are the treatments for sun damage?
Treatment depends on a number of factors including skin type, location and extent of sun damage. Your provider will discuss the best treatment options for your specific areas of concern.
Topical treatment: Topical products are available to lighten unwanted sun spots on the skin. These products range from over-the-counter lighteners or brighteners to prescription grade hydroquinone. Click here for options available in our store.
There are several topical treatments to target actinic keratoses focally or over a large area. Expected effects can include irritation and redness so it is important to discuss proper use of the medication with your doctor.
In office treatments:
Liquid nitrogen: This in-office procedure using liquid nitrogen can treat sun spots and actinic keratoses. It may be necessary for multiple treatments before the lesions are completely resolved.
Photorejuvenation: There are multiple laser and light treatments available that help many of the different forms of sun damage including pigmentation or sun spots, redness and broken blood vessels. Read more about the different photorejuvenation treatments here. Our Laser Team will develop a treatment plan to help you see the best results.
Photodynamic Therapy: A topical photo-sensitizing solution can be applied prior to photorejuvenation to treat actinic keratoses. Read more about this treatment here.