The Truth About Sun Damage, And What You Can Do About It

What is Sun Damage?

This is a term that we use to describe what happens to the skin in relationship to environmental exposure (in this case, ultraviolet light rays [UV] that comes from the sun). We experience side effects from UVB and UVA exposure.

UVB causes damage to the skin’s DNA at a depth where the color-producing cells called melanocytes make brown pigment. These are also the rays responsible for sunburns and can cause skin cancer.

UVA penetrates deeper into the skin causing damage to both collagen and elastin, which are the foundation of the skin. This damage causes the skin to lose its support and it starts to sag and stretch, prompting the skin to lose it’s ability to bounce back. UVA is also linked with skin cancer. Tanning beds have a higher amount of UVA than natural sun and should be completely avoided.

Prevention, Prevention, Prevention

1. For those of you interested in keeping your skin as healthy as possible, prevention is key. First, know that Vitamin D is still accessible to you without the sun’s rays in the form of a quality supplement taken consistently.

2. Apply UV protection on environment-exposed skin, like the face, every day, regardless of the weather. I prefer the term UV protection because that is the goal (not just blocking out the sun’s burning rays). Remember — you still get damage even without the sun. Shield your collagen and keep it strong. There are great clothing pieces on the market with built-in UV protection.

3. A consistent at-home skincare and in-office treatment regimen make all the difference in helping clear and prevent skin damage and promote healthy collagen production, which keeps your skin strong and looking radiant. And no, this will not break the bank. The key here is being consistent.

Not All Sunscreens Are Created Equal

There are two forms of UV protection: chemical and physical blocks.

Chemical blocks work by being absorbed into the skin and must be applied at least 20-30 minutes before exposure. These products don’t always block both UVA and UVB, and work by absorbing UV rays. This can heat the skin and exacerbate conditions like rosacea and melasma.

Physical blocks, on the other hand, act like armor against the UV. They can be applied immediately before exposure and are the products of choice. Reapply every two hours while being exposed. They work by reflecting the UV rays off the skin, thereby cooling the skin.

UV rays are strongest between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. and during summer months in the midwest. It is recommended that you stay out of the sun during these times, find a shaded spot, wear a hat, wear protective clothing and wear UV protection.

For the Sun Lovers

Despite the warnings, many folks continue to love the sun and the idea of getting a tan. Just know that there are no acceptable amounts of UV that are considered safe. So with that in mind, wear SPF, avoid getting sunburn, and practice a consistent skincare regimen routine. Looking like a sun-worshiper is no longer in style, and it ages your skin by a decade or more!


  • One sunburn can increase your chances of developing skin cancer by 50 percent, and multiple burns with blisters can bump up the risk of developing melanoma by up to 80 percent.
  • Never, ever go in a tanning bed. Not even once.
  • Be vigilant in keeping your “winter glow.” You will have fewer wrinkles and thicker, more vibrant ageless skin. But if you must, get your glow from a professionally applied spray tan!

Get a FREE Skin Assessment! Visit FreshSkin Medical Spa & Wellness Center in July to receive your COMPLIMENTARY VISIA Complexion Skin Analysis, and get a FREE sunscreen sample. Call 847-681-8821 today to reserve your appointment.

Click here for a 1-minute video on the Visia Complexion Analysis.


FreshSkin Medical Spa & Wellness Center | 595 Elm Place, Suite 208 | Highland Park, IL | | 847-681-8821