Sun Damage Explained

Explicación del daño solar

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Did you know that unprotected sun exposure is the main cause of premature skin aging? In this article, you will discover what sun damage is, how it affects the skin, and discover ways to prevent and reduce it.


Ultraviolet radiation is part of the spectrum of light that reaches Earth from the sun. It has shorter wavelengths than visible light, which are classified as UVA and UVB rays. Both types of radiation damage the skin in different ways. Ultraviolet B (short wave) rays are responsible for sunburn and redness or erythema, while ultraviolet A (long wave) rays can penetrate deeper into the skin and damage DNA.

Consequences of sun damage

Sun damage has short and long term consequences. An immediately visible sign of sun damage is sunburn . In a mild form, it appears as red, inflamed skin that feels hotter than usual. In more severe cases, it is accompanied by blisters, as well as nausea and dizziness. In short, sunburn can be very serious.

Longer-term consequences of unprotected sun exposure include a dull, uneven skin tone and dryness. The sun can dry out your skin and reduce its levels of essential fatty acids, leaving your skin looking and feeling rough, peeling, and rough. Sun damage also slows down the rate of skin cell renewal, causing a buildup of old, dead skin cells resulting in dull, congested skin.

One of the most obvious and long-lasting signs of sun damage is discolorations (whether dark spots or more diffuse, patchy hyperpigmentation) due to sun exposure. Brown spots occur because ultraviolet light triggers excess melanin production in the skin. In the absence of a broad-spectrum sunscreen, the skin overproduces melanin to protect itself from sun damage. For many people, excess melanin is produced unevenly and is concentrated in smaller areas, causing stubborn pigmentation spots. The resulting dark spots require powerful skin-evening ingredients to fade hyperpigmentation and help skin return to its natural color.

Sun damage can also destroy collagen and elastin in the skin. Collagen is a protein that maintains the firmness of the skin and elastin is the support fiber that allows the skin to recover. The breakdown of collagen and elastin in the deeper layers of the skin can lead to premature signs of skin aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines, as the skin loses elasticity and firmness. To make matters worse, unprotected sun exposure also decreases hyaluronic acid content, resulting in thinner, more fragile skin.

While the effects of sun damage are primarily cosmetic, it can become a serious threat to your health when it causes skin cancer. Repeated sunburn and unprotected sun exposure increase the chance of various forms of skin cancer , which is why sun protection is so important.

Protect your skin from sun damage

Prevention is better than cure, so be sure to protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays every day. It's never too early (or too late) to start using a Facial SPF or Body SPF . In fact, the older you get, the harder it is for your skin to repair the effects of sun damage, so the sooner you start, the better. On a normal day, your SPF should last without needing to be reapplied. But if you're going to be outdoors for long periods of time or sweat a lot, you'll need to reapply your SPF regularly to ensure you get complete protection. Also keep in mind that some medications can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.

Reduce visible sun damage

Although it is not possible to completely repair sun damage, certain appropriate skin care products plus daily use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen can produce significant visible improvement.

  • AHA Scrub: Exfoliates the surface of the skin, helping to fade pigment spots and reduce dry skin. Skin tone will be more even and with a healthy glow.
  • Retinol: Stimulates the natural cell renewal process and reduces wrinkles and skin discolorations caused by the harmful effects of the sun.
  • Vitamin C: Reduces brown spots, helps brighten skin, and protects against damage caused by environmental pollution.
  • Antioxidant Serums: Powerful antioxidants protect skin against environmental damage and increase SPF efficiency.
  • Depigmentation treatments: using a leave-on product once a day that contains ingredients that fade dark spots and uneven discolorations can improve this problem in a few weeks.