While summer has come to an end, the long-term damage of bright, sunny days may still linger. If you spent most of your summer days out in the sun without proper protection, you may have sun-damaged skin.
The sun’s heat dries out areas of unprotected skin and depletes the skin’s supply of natural lubricating oils. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can also cause burning and long-term changes in the skin’s structure. Here’s how to tell if your skin is sun damaged.
Symptoms of Skin Damage
While signs and severity may differ for everyone, these symptoms are the most common ways to tell if your skin is sun damaged.
Dry skin is one of the most common symptoms of mild sun damage. The skin appears dry, flaky, and slightly more wrinkled than skin that has not been exposed to the sun. Dry skin usually means the skin has lost its natural moisture and essential oils.
Mild sunburn causes pain and redness on sun-exposed skin and can usually be identified by dividing lines of pigmentation between exposed and unexposed skin. However, more severe cases of sunburn produce painful blisters and sometimes even nausea and dizziness.
Actinic keratosis appears as a small bump that feels like sandpaper or a persistent patch of scaly and peeling skin that may have a jagged or even sharp surface and that has a pink, yellow, red, or brownish tint.
Symptoms of long-term changes in the skin’s collagen include fine lines, deeper wrinkles, thickened skin texture, and easy bruising on sun-exposed areas.
Diagnosis and Treatment
A doctor or dermatologist can determine if you have sun-damaged skin. In most cases, they will simply examine the skin. In more severe cases, a biopsy is done to rule out any bigger issues such as skin cancer.
Sun-damaged skin can be treated in several ways, from additional moisturizing to laser treatment and prescribed medications.
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