Sun-damaged skin is characterized by rough, dried-out skin with a lot of deep wrinkles. The epidermis or outer skin tends to be thickened (a natural, protective response to sun exposure), and there is usually significant loss of elasticity or “firmness” to the skin. Your skin becomes what is technically termed flaccid. Deep, often premature wrinkles are present along with noticeable capillary damage. Many times sun-damaged skin has a leathered look and almost always is sporting a continuous tan.
Sometimes sun-damaged skin isn’t currently tan. Although excessive sun exposure may have stopped, prematurely wrinkled and flaccid skin may have already occurred from damage acquired years ago. This is what cumulative, long-term damage can mean. Long after you have stayed out of the sun, the effects of overexposure still creep into your life, showing up not only in the form of lines, wrinkles, and loose skin, but also with the potential for skin cancer or precancerous growths as well.
What to use on sun-damaged skin. You want to treat the oil or lack of oil in your skin first and foremost. If you have truly sun-damaged skin, there isn’t anything—short of invasive procedures—to reduce or eliminate the damage. Is your skin oily? Couperose? Sensitive? Deciding what other skin conditions you have, coupled with sun damage, will be the determining factors for what is best to use on your skin.
There are no quick fixes for a lifetime spent in the sun. You can help to stop further damage by avoiding direct sunlight and always wearing sunscreen and a hat. Just remember, it’s never too late to start taking care of your skin—no matter what condition it is in.
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