What Does Sun Damaged Skin Look Like?


You hear a lot of talk about dry skin. Especially on how the sun can damage the skin. But do you know what to look for? At Greentoes in Tucson, we have seen what effects the sun can have on the skin and have a few tips to help you recognize the signs of sun-damaged skin and how to take proactive control of your skincare.


Let’s look at hyperpigmentation. This is a broad term that refers to an uneven skin tone, or dark spots. This is caused by genetics or sun damage.

Skin pigmentation can be classified in one of two ways. A raised lesion is called a papule or plaque; or a flat lesion, also known as a patch or macule. Moles also fit in the category of skin pigmentation.

What makes hyperpigmentation something important to look at is that any abnormal change in skin pigmentation could indicate not just sun-damaged skin, but the possibility of skin cancer.

Dark spots also referred to as sunspots, liver spots, or lentigines are another type of hyperpigmentation. They look like flat brown spots or oversized freckles. They are caused by chronic exposure to ultraviolet light and can usually be found on your arms, neck, hands, and face. This is different from skin pigmentation problems that normally occur when skin cells are damaged resulting in decreasing melanin production.

Changes To Your Skin

You should consult a doctor if you notice any changes in the color or texture of your skin.

After years of being exposed to ultraviolet light, you will likely have textural changes to your skin. You may notice crusty skin or scaly patches that are thicker and raised from the surface of your skin. This might indicate something called actinic keratoses. This is a pre-cancerous skin growth.

This sun damage can lead to skin cancer according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. This can become a skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Once again, it is important that if you notice these inform your doctor. What you may feel is just rough skin, could be an early sign of something far more serious.

Do you have ruddy skin? If you have skin that is reddish in appearance and your skin looks uneven or blotchy or has broken capillaries, this can be an inherited condition, but can also be caused by damage from the sun.

Sagging, Loose Skin

The sun can also cause elastin and collagen to break down and over time can cause sagging, loose skin. This can be caused by several other factors as well such as aging. Excessive drinking or poor nutrition can also contribute. As the production of the two proteins decreases, you may see loose, sagging skin.

On the subject of collagen, with its decreased production, there is decreased pressure around the blood vessels. You might experience something called spider veins. This is when the veins appear at the skin’s surface and a network of blue, red, and purple lines that looks like a spider web appear.

And of course, wrinkles and fine lines. A loss of collagen in the skin will cause a breakdown in the elasticity of the skin. This over time will result in fine lines, thickened skin texture, and of course, wrinkles. It is estimated that as much as 90% of visible aging is caused by damage from the sun.

So now that we have looked at the damage the sun can cause, let’s look at some ways you can be proactive in your skincare. And how Greentoes can help you.

The first step is a relatively simple one, wear protective clothing. Wear a hat and clothing that covers up as much as possible.

Along those lines, limit the amount of time that you spend outdoors or in the sun. Try not to be outside if possible, when the sun is at its peak, 10 am to 3 pm.

Always Wear Sunscreen

Pick a proper sunscreen. Start by picking a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30 or higher. By adding sunscreen into your daily routine skin care, you put off a lot of the damage caused by the sun with little effort. The higher, the better, but pick at least a 30 or higher.

While you are shopping for your sunscreen, also make sure it has “broad-spectrum” on the label. This gives you protection from both UVA and UVB rays. UVA rays are what give you wrinkles and damages skin; while UVB rays are what cause sunburn and skin causing cancer.

To lessen the ravages of dry skin, make sure that your sunscreen has moisturizing ingredients. Dry skin can still happen, even with sunscreen so make sure that you pick one that adds moisture back to your skin.

Apply your sunscreen about every two hours. As you sweat, come in contact with water, or even towel off, you remove your sunscreen. Re-apply at least every two hours to make sure that you have the maximum protection.

Regularly check your body. Staying on top of your skincare also includes checking it head to toe to ensure that you notice when new spots appear or if existing spots change in appearance. This will head off damage early and might catch any possible early signs of cancer.

At Greentoes, we have several options that you can choose from to help you keep healthy, young-looking skin for years to come.

our locations

529 N 6th Ave
Tucson, AZ 85705

greentoes North
615 W Roller Coaster Rd
Tucson, AZ 85704

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