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How To Tell If Your Skin Has Sun Damage (And What You Should Do About It)

How To Tell If Your Skin Has Sun Damage

We all know how harmful the sun can be to our skin. From the harmful UV rays that can cause lasting damage and skin-aging to the immediate sunburn, we try to avoid it all.

Minnesota summers are incredible. We spend our days at the lake or the cabin — eager to get outdoors after hibernating for the winter.  And while it has become a habit to lather up with sunscreen, it may not be enough to protect our skin from lasting damage and unfortunate skin issues.

From the common to the uncommon — we’re going to go through the signs that your skin may have sun damage and how you can prevent it, or treat it.


This one’s a no-brainer. Sunburn will vary depending on how fair your skin is — but you already know the symptoms and signs. Red, irritable skin that burns when touched. If it’s an extreme case it can blister.

If you find yourself with a sunburn it’s actually super important that you take care of it right away. While it’s a pretty common side effect of sitting out in the sun, the lasting damage that repeated sunburn can have is pretty dramatic.

Aloe gel will definitely help with any discomfort and help your skin heal over the next few days. Applying the right SPF will help prevent this from occurring.

Dry Skin

This can also be a side effect of sunburn. If you’ve ever been in the sun for too long you know this one all too well. While dry skin often feels like no big deal, it is a sign that your skin is fed up with the sun.

If you’re looking to get rid of the dry skin, avoid using warm or hot water to wash it away — as this could further irritate your skin. Also, avoid using scented soaps if your skin is dried out from the sun and stick to a deep moisturizer to help soothe your skin.

Age Spots

After far too much unhealthy sun exposure you run the risk of age spots. These look a bit like freckles or birthmarks, they are dark and get darker with age. If you find that these spots are changing in texture or appearance, like growing abnormally large or getting extremely rough for smooth — see a dermatologist.

Chemical peels are a great way to reduce age spots. Be sure to consult with a professional about the best course of action when attempting to get rid of these pesky spots.


If you have endured far too much sun exposure you risk photoaging. What does this look like? Well there are several symptoms of photoaging such as:

  • Deep wrinkles
  • Thick skin texture
  • Fine lines

Depending on how severe these symptoms are, some may not be reversible. But professionals are able to make improvements to the skin with the right treatments. One of many treatments includes dermaplaning.

Preventing Sun Damage

The best way for you to combat the harmful effects of the sun is to take preventative measures. If you can keep UV rays from ever damaging your skin, hopefully, you won’t have to worry about sun damage.  

The best way to reduce the chances of sun damage is to limit exposure to the sun. While this may seem like a simple solution, not everyone wants to be a hermit. That being said, laying outside in the sun for four or five hours isn’t going to do your skin any favors (regardless of how good your tan looks). So keep an eye on how much time you’re spending in the sun and keep it to a safe moderate level.

Anytime you’re outside, you are being exposed to the sun. Even if it’s cloudy or cold, your skin is still being affected by UV rays. That’s why it’s important to wear products with SPF protection. There are a ton of cosmetic options available equipped with sun protection from Colorescience.

It’s also important to take extra precautions for certain parts of your body, as they are more likely to age with sun exposure. Areas like the eyes and lips are prone to sun exposure and don’t often get enough SPF love. A good pair of sunglasses that protects against 99% of UV rays will do the trick, shielding your eyes, eyelids, and the skin around your eyes. Keep your lips moisturized and protected with protective lip balm.

Another great way to protect a vulnerable part of your body is to wear a hat. Your scalp is difficult to protect spot and is often neglected by sun protective creams or sprays. A sunhat not only protects your head but also your shoulders as well.

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