Can Sun Damage Be Reversed?

Can Sun Damage Be Reversed?

After a summer of sunshine, it’s time to look at how UV can damage your skin.

Sun damage can’t be completely reversed but treatments from a dermatologist claim to improve the appearance of most types of sun damage. UV radiation changes the DNA in your skin. Sun damage can result in sunburn, age spots, broken capillaries, poikiloderma, wrinkles, rough skin texture, loss of skin elasticity, redness/blotchiness, melasma, and can lead to skin cancer.

Almost all dermatological treatments work by removing a layer or two of skin.

A dermatologist can prescribe retinoids for wrinkles, age spots, loose skin, roughness and blotchiness. Retinoids are more beneficial when treating early signs of sun damage but can cause irritation, sun sensitivity, redness and dryness. Most treatments are for 18 months.

A chemical peel is supposed to help with wrinkles and age spots but may lead to redness, blisters, itching, skin sensitivity, dermatitis and swelling. Possible risks include scarring, reactivation of cold sores, heart, kidney or liver damage and change in skin colour. You will need to avoid the sun for several months. Treatments could be required weekly to yearly and on average, 5 treatments are required. Recovery from treatments range from one to 14 days.

Laser treatments are performed for age spots, wrinkles, loose skin, spider veins, and blotchiness and are relatively pain free. There are different types of lasering. Skin may be pink and irritated and inflamed, and you must avoid UV exposure. Recovery can take a few weeks and redness can last for months for some laser treatments. Usually 3-6 treatments are required, every 3-4 weeks or 1-2 years depending on the laser.

Microdermabrasion can help reduce wrinkles, melasma, age spots and blotchiness and you may experience redness and swelling. There is a risk of scarring, infection, acne breakouts, loss of skin colour, and tissue damage.

And the list goes on with intense-pulsed light, cryosurgery, ultrasound, and non-invasive radio frequency.

I’m not a fan of paying $100+ per treatment and having side effects and recovery time. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with that, I just prefer a more natural, gentle, and cost-effective method. From my own personal experience, I know that using natural ingredients can certainly reduce pigmentation.

I’ve experienced sunburns most of my life, and they turn into tans. The worst burn I ever had was when I blistered from my chest to my feet. I’m talking big blisters that hung over my pants. I used to go to tanning salons, especially before a trip to Mexico, so that I reduced my chances of bad sunburns while I was there. I confess I’ve always loved the look of a tan and I love the way the heat feels on your skin.

But…I now have age spots, broken capillaries and poikiloderma because of my UV exposure.

About a year ago, I noticed these strange red/brown web-like marks on my neck. My doctor sent me to a dermatologist who had her own clinic. She recognized the marks right away as the common poikiloderma. This is sun damage on the front of your neck, except for under your chin, which is in the shade when you’re outdoors.

She gave me two options. I could use a retinoid cream for 6 months or go for laser treatments for three months. I opted for the cream prescription – I wasn’t in a hurry. Even though it had ingredients I usually avoid, I thought I’d give it a try. 

So, I used this retinoid cream for six months to the day, every day, and didn’t see much, if any, difference. That’s when I decided to help myself. I explored what ingredients I could use and found that avocado oil, camellia seed oil, carrot tissue oil, olive oil, and pomegranate oil were beneficial. I decided on camellia seed oil because of its benefits; and it is nongreasy, affordable and has a long shelf life.

Camellia seed oil is an antioxidant and is anti-aging. It heals scars, lightens age spots, reduces the appearance of fine lines, loose skin, and sun damage. And it may help with collagen.

I added camellia seed oil to my Anti-Aging Face & Eye Serum and noticed a difference over a couple of months.

Since then, I’m much more diligent about using sunscreen or covering up outside. This summer I took a job as a Parks Worker so I’m outside every day, all day. I use my Dry Skin Face Lotion with zinc oxide in the summer (instead of my Anti-Aging Serum) and within a couple of months my neck was noticeably darker again.

So you can bet I’ll be adding camellia seed oil to my face lotions. Camellia seed oil is reasonably priced, doesn’t damage your skin, has no unpleasant side effects and no recovery is required!

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