Cures for Severely Sun Damaged Skin

A healthy looking tan may be attractive in the short-term but overexposure to the sun can have very unappealing effects on the skin. The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to premature wrinkling, loosening of the skin, discoloration, age spots and damaged blood vessels which can give the skin a reddish appearance. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) says a number of facial rejuvenation techniques can reverse severely sun damaged skin.


Injectable fillers like hyaluronic acid or collagen may help soften deep lines caused by too much sun. Fillers work especially well on deep smile lines and crow’s feet. An allergic reaction is rare but you may experience temporary redness or swelling. Fillers can last up to six months.


Tretinoin (Retin-A) is a Vitamin A derivative cream that can reverse the effects of severe sun damage by smoothing out skin roughness and discoloration while visibly reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Tretinoin works by increasing the turnover rate of skin cells and stimulates collagen production. It must be used regularly to maintain its benefits. Side effects may include redness and peeling of the skin.


Chemical peels use agents, such as glycolic or trichloroacetic acids, to reduce skin discoloration, remove age spots, and soften wrinkles around the eyes and mouth. Peels work by removing the surface layers of the skin and encouraging the growth of new, healthier skin. A series of treatments may be required depending on the strength of the peel used. Temporary side effects may include reddening and peeling that is similar to sunburn.

Dermabrasion Techniques

A resurfacing procedure known as dermabrasion uses an abrasive instrument to sand down sun damaged skin. The result is less wrinkled, more evenly-colored and rejuvenated skin. The Mayo Clinic says it may take up to three months for swelling and skin discoloration to dissipate but treatment results are long lasting. Possible short-term side effects include infection, bleeding and small white bumps.

Microdermabrasion uses micro-particles to remove some of the damaged outer layer of the skin that stimulates new skin growth. There is little or no recovery time involved but several treatments may be necessary to effectively reduce severe sun damage.

Laser Resurfacing

Laser resurfacing can effectively treat wrinkles, skin discoloration, and broken blood vessels caused by severe sun damage. The AAD says laser rejuvenation works by penetrating the damaged area with an intense pulse light or laser. The laser beam destroys the outer layer of skin to allow new, younger looking skin to appear. Laser therapy may also stimulate collagen production. Your skin may remain reddish or pink for a number of months following treatment. Its effects can last for several years.