sun-damage-3Every time we step into the sunshine, our skin can become damaged.  Research indicates that the Ultra Violet rays of the sun actually alter the DNA of our skin cells.  This alternation in DNA leads to lines, discolorations including sunspots, wrinkles, and skin cancer.  Sun damage can also cause skin on the hands, neck and face to become leathery and coarse.  Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to reverse sun damage and regain beautiful and younger looking skin.

Over-The-Counter Solutions For Sun Damaged Skin

The first step in any plan to reverse the signs of sun damaged skin, is to exfoliate.  Exfoliation refinishes your skin by sloughing off the outer layers revealing smoother skin.  Over-the-counter exfoliators are available for both face and body; use as recommended.  Some products contain natural coarse ingredients the work by sanding off the dead skin while others rely on chemical exfoliators like glycolic acid.  If you have sensitivity to chemicals, start by using one of the natural scrubs available on the market today and use as directed.  While natural scrubs and exfoliators may not work as quickly as products with chemical compounds, they are gentler on your skin.  Once you have begun the process of removing the outer layers of weathered skin, it is important to properly cleanse and moisturize your skin.

Salon Solutions For Sun Damaged Skin

Salons and spas offer a variety of procedures that help to reverse the signs of sun damage.  Microdermabrasion is one of the more popular treatments that work by removing outer layers of skin with friction and chemical compounds.  While microdermabrasion kits are available for home use and they are considered effective, the equipment and polishing compounds are different.  Most individuals notice a marked improvement in the texture of their skin and a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after two or three professional microdermabrasion treatments.

Dermatology Procedures For Sun Damaged Skin

Dermatologists have a number of weapons in their toolbox to reverse the effect of sun damage.  This includes dermabrasion, chemical peels, photo facials, and prescription medications.  While significantly more expensive that over-the-counter or salon solutions, some individuals may prefer to consult with their dermatologist when fighting sun damaged skin.

Can You Reverse Sun Damage?

Yes, and no.  It depends on the amount of sun damage you have and the steps that you are willing to take. The most beautiful skin is smooth, taut and free of sunspots, wrinkles, and fine lines.  While you cannot erase all of the damage, you can dramatically change the texture, health and appearance of your skin. For the healthiest skin, eat a balanced diet rich in anti-oxidants and drink a minimum of eight glasses of water per day.  Wash your face with a gentle cleanser formulated for your skin type, follow with a moisturizer, and never leave the house without applying sunscreen.

Notes & Side Effects

The side effects associated with over-the-counter exfoliation, cleansing and moisturizing are mild.  It is important to understand however, that with any exfoliation method or procedure, the goal is to remove the outer layer of skin.  This can leave you skin dry and flaky.  The more harsh salon and dermatologic procedures can leave temporary red patches, slight swelling, and discomfort similar to a sunburn.  Your salon professional or doctor will alert you to possible side effects and prepare you for the changes your skin will go through.

In addition to your face, hands, necks and chests are prone to show sun damage.  Regardless of where the sun damage has occurred, start with exfoliation, moisturize and then make sure that you use plenty of sunscreen to protect the affected areas.  It is much easier to protect against sun damage than it is to reverse damage.

Additional Reading & Sources


Kathleen McCoy is professional beauty, education and healthcare analyst and writer. A University of Maryland graduate, Kathleen has traveled and studied extensively throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America covering skin care and natural beauty techniques from around the globe.

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