How to Prevent and Treat Sun-Damaged Skin This Summer

We can all agree that there’s nothing like the feeling of the sun’s warm rays, especially after a long winter. It pays, however, to remember that without protecting your skin, you leave it vulnerable to damage from the sun. This can manifest as problems right after exposure, like sunburn, as well as signs of aging decades down the road, like wrinkles. 

Failing to protect your skin from the sun also increases your risk for skin cancer.

Before the dog days of summer are upon us, there are steps you can take to prevent sun damage and safeguard your skin. Dr. Sharon Gertzman counsels patients about how best to protect their skin year-round, and she also offers treatments that address sun damage. Serenity Medical Spa also has an excellent skincare product line, which includes sunscreen and healing skincare products with SPF protection.

How the sun hurts your skin

You’ve heard it before — the sun’s powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays damage skin. 

There are two types of damaging UV rays, and they each cause slightly different forms of skin damage. UVA rays damage the outer layer of your skin but also go deep inside your skin — they’re the main culprits for signs of aging like wrinkles. They also contribute to the development of skin cancer.

UVB rays don’t go as deeply into your skin, but they cause harm to your skin’s outer layer and play a pretty significant role in the development of skin cancer. 

There are also UVC rays that don’t reach us because the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs them. 

The signs of sun damage on your skin are unmistakable, and include:

In addition, sun exposure can worsen symptoms for those with rosacea, an inflammatory skin condition marked by redness and flare-ups.

There’s no doubt about it: The sun is not your skin’s friend!

How to put a halt to sun damage

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to prevent sun damage this summer.

The most important thing you can do is to protect your skin any way you can from the sun’s intense rays. What does this look like for summer?

It’s also important to understand that just because the sun isn’t shining doesn’t mean that harmful UV rays can’t reach you — and harm your skin. Make sure you follow these recommendations even on cloudy days.

Additionally, don’t forget to reapply your sunscreen. This is an essential step, as it wears off over time. The SPF level of your sunscreen impacts how often you should reapply, so check the directions on your bottle to ensure you’re reapplying correctly. Also, remember to examine the expiration date on your sunscreen. If it’s older, you’ll likely need to toss it and get a new bottle. 

When you use skin care products that offer sun protection, you’re doing your skin a favor. Our ZO Skin Health offerings include products that provide sun protection and pamper your skin by helping to minimize redness and soothe dryness. 

If you’ve sustained sun damage in past years, talk to Dr. Gertzman about a series of intense pulsed light (IPL) treatments. These treatments use light wavelengths to help remove damaged layers of skin one by one. This advanced treatment reveals healthy skin that isn’t affected by discoloration and other damage. It’s noninvasive and doesn’t require downtime.

Another treatment option is photodynamic therapy. This involves light therapy with a topical drug to treat sun damage and precancerous growths.

You owe it to yourself to protect your health and looks by taking a cautious approach to the sun this coming summer.

This summer, give your skin the TLC it deserves and make an appointment with us by calling 609-891-3188. You can also request a consultation with Dr. Gertzman online.

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