Photodamage, or sun damaged skin is something few people escape. It occurs with exposure to sunlight (UVA or UVB) whether or not we intentionally suntan. Twenty five percent of our lifetime exposure occurs before the end of our teenage years.
Photodamage creates many different skin problems. Below are the main manifestations:
- advanced aging or wrinkling
- uneven or “pebbly” skin
- irregular pigmentation
- small blood vessels or red markings (telangiectasias)
- rough or scaly patches (actinic keratoses)
- freckles (ephilides)
- “liver spots” and “age spots” (lentigines)
- thinned or fragile skin
- pre skin cancers
- skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, malignant melanoma).
Treatment for photodamage is usually a combination of treatments, most importantly topical tretinoin, which can reverse many of the above conditions along a with a physical sunscreen.
Other treatments such as, skin peels, dermal needling, and plasma can also help.
Any suspicious moles or lesions should be investigated by a dermatologist.