Sun Damage ~ How to Treat and Prevent Environmental Damage from UV Exposure

The sun can wreak havoc on our skin.

The lasting effects of that blistered childhood sunburn, the “tin foil and baby oil” scorching of the teenage years, and the long-term daily exposure brought about by simply being outdoors can produce significant sun damage to the skin.

Two types of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, Ultraviolet A (UVA) and Ultraviolet B (UVB), are widely known to cause sun damage.

UVA rays penetrate the epidermis down to the upper layer of the dermis and break down collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin to cause premature signs of aging. They are present all year long and can pass through cloud cover and car windows. Tanning beds also utilize UVA rays. UVB rays damage the skin cells of the outer layers of the epidermis and are the chief cause of sunburn. Both contribute to the development of skin cancer.

Lesser known but equally concerning is damage from “blue light” that results from the sun and from computer screens, mobile phones, tablets, and other electronic devices.

Prolonged exposure to blue light has long been known to damage the photoreceptors of the eyes, but recent studies have shown that it also causes significant damage to the skin.

Blue light penetrates even more deeply than UVA and UVB, reaching down through the hypodermis, the innermost skin layers, breaking down collagen and elastin. It also is known to alter melatonin levels that regulate our circadian rhythms to interfere with our sleep, the time during which skin restores and repairs.  

Overexposure to UVA, UVB, and blue light for all skin types causes changes in the DNA at the cellular level to create:

  • Hyperpigmentation ~ sunspots, liver spots, freckles, and other imperfections caused by excess production of melanin that rises to the surface to produce skin discoloration 
  • Texture changes ~ wrinkles, scarring, and rough, uneven skin surface 
  • Decreased skin tone ~ laxity due to damage to collagen and elastin fibers
  • Spider veins ~ networks of tiny red veins often appearing on or around the nose and chest
  • Skin cancers ~ including melanoma and basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas

These conditions can bring about both aesthetic concerns and health risks that are always best addressed by a trusted medical provider.

At RX Aesthetics, we offer both in-house treatments and a variety of products to help reverse and prevent sun damage.

In-House Treatments

  • IPL (intense pulsed light) PhotoFacial ~ This non-ablative laser treatment safely targets and effectively fades sunspots, liver spots, freckles, and visible veins. With an IPL Photo Facial, you can achieve a noticeably brighter, clearer, and more youthful-looking complexion. We recommend three to six sessions about four to six weeks apart depending on skin condition for optimal results. Slight redness and potential swelling lasting about 24 hours following the procedure are the only downtime source.
  • Chemical peels ~ Our Perfect Peel and VIPeel lighten and brighten skin tone by reducing sun damage, age spots, freckles, and scarring. These peels stimulate collagen production to even out skin tone and reveal clearer, smoother, younger-looking skin. Peels range in intensity, and we will recommend the formula we feel will best address your particular condition. Downtime can range from one to seven days and include possible redness, inflammation, and peeling.


What you do at home to protect and treat your skin is really important. Sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher shields the skin from these different types of rays and is the number one tool to protect your skin from damage. You should use sunscreen every day, regardless of the season.  A waterproof formula reapplied every two hours is a great choice when at the beach or pool.

Here are a few of our favorite products to consider adding to your home care regimen:

  • For protection from blue light, choose a mineral sunscreen that contains ingredients like zinc oxide that act as a barrier to absorb and block damaging rays. Apply even when you’re indoors during exposure to all electronic devices. We recommend Alastin SilkSHIELD ALL Mineral Sunscreen, a lightweight, sheer formula that delivers powerful protection from all three types of damaging rays. It is non-comedogenic and fragrance- and oil-free, so it’s excellent even for sensitive skin.
  • Vitamin C is an antioxidant that neutralizes free radical damage that causes early signs of aging and hyperpigmentation. We recommend SkinCeuticals Phloretin CF with Ferulic Acid. This patented daytime Vitamin C antioxidant face serum provides robust environmental protection and improves the appearance of discoloration, fine lines, and skin tone. 

SkinCeuticals Discoloration Defense is a clinically proven daily dark spot corrector that targets discoloration, brightens skin, and evens skin tone.  It is also a tremendous at-home treatment between chemical peels.  In a 12-week study, it was shown to improve the appearance of discoloration markers, showing:

~ 60% average improvement in the appearance of stubborn brown patches

~ 59% average improvement in the appearance of skin discoloration

~ 81% average improvement in the appearance of scarring

~ 59% average improvement in the evening of skin tone

We’d love to invite you for a free consultation on any concerns you have related to sun damage or any other causes of aging skin and prescribe a treatment plan to address your skin’s condition.  You can book your appointment right here or email us with questions at info@rxamedspa.com.

As always, we love having you as a part of our RXReset Blog community! Please keep sending your feedback and ideas for future topics to info@rxamedspa.com.



Your Team at RX Aesthetics Medical Spa


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