We all love spending time in the sun after a long winter, but you might be noticing signs of past summers showing up on your skin. While sunburn can be an immediate result of excess sun exposure, things like wrinkles, dark spots, and even skin cancer are more lasting. Here’s how to take care of sun damaged skin.
The most serious signs of sun damage are new or changing moles, growths, or lesions. These can potentially indicate the presence of skin cancer, so it’s important to get them checked out by a dermatologist immediately if you notice them. Skin cancer is most often caused by excess exposure to sunlight. The sun’s UVA rays cause early aging, the sun’s UVB rays can cause burning, but both kinds of UV rays can cause certain types of skin cancer.
Skin cancer can appear at any age, so it’s good to keep an eye on your freckles and moles and receive a regular skin cancer screening. Other signs of sun damaged skin are the presence of dark spots, skin discoloration or pigment conditions, and wrinkles. These often begin to show up during the early thirties and can continue to appear or worsen over the next several decades.
There are several types of treatments for skin discoloration from sun exposure. Laser treatments, administered by a trusted, board-certified dermatologist, can reduce the appearance of pigmented spots. Lasers work by safely targeting melanin pigmented areas. The targeted areas on the skin rapidly absorb the light energy emitted from the laser beam, vaporizing the unwanted melanin and lightening the pigment. This ultimately reduces the dark spot.
Chemical peels are another great option for treating sun damaged skin. Chemical peels can be offered as part of another facial treatment or administered on their own. They’re quick and easy cosmetic treatments -- usually lasting around 30 minutes -- and can help reduce dark spots. Over time and by receiving regular chemical peels (around once a month or so), you will generally notice reduction of fine lines and wrinkles as well. Chemical peels are exfoliants that use a special solution to remove the topmost layer of dead skin cells. This reveals fresh skin underneath, which is smoother, more even, and younger looking. Chemical peels can even work to diminish acne scars.
Finally, if you do have skin cancer, it will need to be removed. It’s vital that you get regular skin cancer screenings since early detection is a determining factor in the success of treatment for skin cancer. There are a variety of treatment options for skin cancer, depending on the type, severity, and location. Skin cancer removal may require Mohs micrographic surgery, traditional surgical excision, cryosurgery, curettage, electrocautery, or electrodesiccation. Your doctor will be able to advise you on which method is appropriate.
Concerned about signs of sun damaged skin or want to receive a skin cancer screening? If you’re in the Cincinnati, Ohio area, contact The Dermatology Group today for an appointment with a board-certified specialist.