Skin Sun Damage: How to Treat It?

i am 37 and have skin sun damage all over my arms, hands, face. is there any way to treat my skin to return former spot-free self?

Doctor Answers 5

Sun damage creates brown spots, lines, wrinkles, yellow...

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Sun damage creates brown spots, lines, wrinkles, yellow uneven surface contour from damaged elastic tissue below the skin surface, bruising, thinning of the skin, precancers and skin cancers.

Some prescription creams and resurfacing treatments, including chemical peels, laser resurfacing (both minimally invasive and invasive) and dermabrasion, can treat this damage. Certain lasers can specifically treat individual brown spots and others can treat unwanted facial red capillary blood vessels.

Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews

Skin Expert: Approach to Treating Sun Damage

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Sun damage causes several important changes to the skin:

  • Increased sun spots
  • Decreased collagen and elastin
  • Decreased skin elasticity
  • Precancerous changes

The most important steps you should take to improve your skin should include the following:

  • Reduce additional sun damage by avoiding direct sun exposure
  • Use sunscreen regularly
  • Apply topical skin lightening creams
  • Consider topical exfoliants such as Retin-A to improve skin quality and collagen content.

Raffy Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 95 reviews

There are many treatments that can help to correct sun damage on the arms, hands and face.

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There are many treatments that can help to correct sun damage on the arms, hands and face.  Your options will differ depending on the extent of your sun damage.  Topical bleaching agents are an option and can be paired with chemical peels or laser treatments.  The most commonly used peel is TCA, which is fantastic for breaking down hyperpigmentation.  Other options would be IPL or Fraxel 1927 laser treatments.  These both are excellent for treating discoloration and fine lines on the skin.  If there are individual, discrete brown spots; these can be treated quite easily with a tattoo laser. I would advise you to consult a board certified Dermatologist who has experience administering these treatments to discuss your options.

William Kwan, MD, FAAD
San Francisco Dermatologist
4.8 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Skin Sun Damage and how to treat it

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Sunspots form as a result of excess pigmentation due to too much ultra violet light, which obviously is of greater concern at the end of summer after long periods of sun-exposure. With that being said, it’s also important to note that sun damage can stay with you for more than ten years. I recommend 1-2 sessions of the Alexandrite laser. The Alexandrite laser uses thermal energy to destroy the brown spot. You will feel heat with each pulse. Post-treatment the unwanted sun or brown spots will become darker in color and flake off over the course of a week. To treat a full-face of freckles, we would recommend IPL (intense pulsed light) treatment to remove the superficial discoloration. The IPL focuses mainly on achieving an even tone to your skin, is gentler, and has less downtime. To actively treat sun damaged skin I suggest daily use of the Alpha Beta Peels and the Ferulic + Retinol Brightening Solution. This is a winning combination for anyone looking to even his or her skin tone and be proactive about anti-aging.
Insider Tip: Before coming in for your laser treatment, avoid prescription retinols a week before and the less tan you are, the better. Don’t be afraid to talk with your doctor to make the best plan for you.

Dennis Gross, MD
New York Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 11 reviews

Treatment for Sun Damage

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It is completely normal that you are concerned about the spotting you are experiencing around your body. Rest assured, however, that the visibility of sun damage on the skin can be effectively reduced through treatments such as laser resurfacing and microdermabrasion. In my practice, I often use Fractioned C02 Lasers to treat sunspots. This non-invasive technique penetrates the skin to revamp the production of collagen, providing a smoothened, renewed outward appearance. I would advise that you schedule a consultation appointment with a certified physician near you to get a more personalized answer to your concerns.

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.