Do you think you are experiencing skin damage? You might have noticed a change in the appearance of your skin and be concerned about what it could mean.
You might just be cautious about keeping your skin well looked after. This guide takes you through everything you need to know about what skin damage is, the signs to look out for, what causes it, and how to treat and prevent it.
What is Damaged Skin?
Skin damage is damage to the skin caused by both natural and environmental triggers, including sun damage, ageing, pollution, and lifestyle habits. These triggers damage the outer barrier of the skin, creating structural changes that result in premature ageing and obvious signs of damaged skin.
The signs of Skin Damage
Different triggers cause various symptoms of skin damage. Too much sun exposure will lead to photodamaged skin and, over time, possibly even leathery skin. Lifestyle choices like not drinking enough water or eating a poor diet may lead to dry, damaged skin.
Here are the common signs of skin damage:
- Wrinkles and fine lines
- Broken capillaries
- Uneven texture
- Loose, sagging skin
- Sun spots
Some of these symptoms are caused by natural ageing, but a lot of them are exacerbated by lifestyle choices, which means you can do something about it. Below you can find a more detailed look into the different skin damage triggers and how they affect the skin.
What Causes Skin Damage?
A person can experience sun damage for various reasons. It might be caused by:
- Natural triggers
- Lifestyle triggers
- Sun damage
Natural triggers, also known as intrinsic triggers, are skin damage triggers that come from within. For example, you might experience more wrinkles and dryness as you age – something that you cannot entirely help. The following are some of the natural triggers of skin damage:
While some changes happen because of lifestyle, your body does alter naturally as you age. You may put more weight on because of a lowered metabolic rate, or you may grow in size due to a pregnancy.
These body changes affect your skin, especially when it comes to stretch marks. Stretch marks are particularly common in pregnant women and younger teens who are going through puberty. They are scars that develop as the skin stretches, resulting in indented streaks around the body (like breasts, thighs, and hips).
Stretch marks may go away on their own, but you can also find a treatment for stretch marks to reduce their appearance.
A Reduction in Cell Turnover Rate
As you get older, your cells don’t replicate as quickly as they used to. This is due to a decrease in collagen, and what happens then is your skin may become saggy, dull, and with more visible lines and wrinkles. Fortunately, a regular facial treatment can help speed up your cell turnover. Doing so will help your skin bounce back.
Underactive Sebaceous Glands
Another skin change that happens as you get older is that your sebaceous glands become less active. This lowers your moisture levels because of the lack of sebum, which leads to dry and flaky skin.
If you have underactive sebaceous glands, you should use gentler products that don’t strip your skin of natural oils. You should also focus on hydrating and moisturising skincare products.
Uneven Melanin Distribution
You may experience hyperpigmentation as you get older due to uneven melanin distribution. It usually results in an uneven skin tone. You might find dark spots and patches around your skin that make you look older. To combat this, you can use retinoids or go for treatments such as chemical peels.
Lifestyle triggers are skin damage triggers that occur because of your life choices, such as what you eat, whether or not you smoke, or how stressed you are.
As you are likely aware, smoking seriously harms your skin. Smoking skin damage often appears as leathery, hardened skin that has little elasticity and premature wrinkles. The only real way to prevent smoking damage is to stop smoking altogether.
While quitting smoking won’t reverse all the signs of skin ageing, it will prevent further damage from happening. You can also invest in quality skincare treatments to lessen the appearance of ageing.
The use of alcohol makes people look older. The more you drink, the more skin damage you’ll experience. You may notice dryness, wrinkles, and sagginess. A large part of this is down to the dehydration caused by alcohol consumption.
You can reduce the signs of ageing from alcohol if you cut back on your intake, stay hydrated, and invest in a hydrating skincare regime.
Diet has a real effect on the skin. A high-fat diet has been shown to cause ageing of the skin. Malnutrition can make you look older, too. If you are deficient in Vitamin D, for example, you may become more sensitive to the sun and develop more signs of skin ageing.
A healthy diet rich in vitamins and nutrients and without too many salts, fats, and sugars is effective for helping the skin stay supple and youthful.
Stress doesn’t just affect your mental health – it can also show up on your skin. When you go through bouts of extreme stress, you may experience acne outbreaks, fine lines, and bags under the eyes.
Stress can also lead to flare-ups of skin problems, such as eczema and psoriasis. Keeping stress levels under control is essential for minimizing these flare-ups, but it is also important to heal damaged skin by investing in proper creams and treatments.
Another lifestyle trigger is skin picking. Picking at the skin can cause a wide range of issues, including scars and even an infection. To keep your skin smooth and healthy, getting a skin-picking habit under control is crucial. If necessary, therapy can be very helpful.
Sun damage – also called photoageing – is one of the biggest contributors to skin damage. UV rays have an enormous impact on premature ageing, causing wrinkles, fine lines, dryness, and sunspots.
What is Sun Damage?
Sun damage occurs when the skin is overexposed to UV rays from the sun. It can happen because of a lack of sunscreen, unprotective clothing, and staying out in the sun too long. The damage is intense – even causing damage to cellular DNA.
What are the Signs of Sun Damaged Skin?
Sun damage shows on the sun-exposed skin in several ways, including:
- Sun wrinkles
- Decreased elasticity
- Uneven texture
- Redness and sun damage on the arms
- Sun damage spots
You may also find broken capillaries on the face and sun-damaged lips.
Skin damage from the sun is not just a cosmetic issue, though. It can cause sunburn and sun ageing, making it one of the most common forms of cancer. This slightly varies around the world, but sun damage increases your chances of getting it. Staying out of the sun and protecting your skin from UV rays is essential for not only reducing signs of ageing but also for preventing cancer and UV damage.
Can You Repair Sun Damaged Skin?
While you cannot reverse the DNA changes caused by UV rays, you can lessen some of the aesthetic changes that have occurred. With skin-lightening creams, laser treatment for sun damage, retinoids, and chemical peels, you can help your skin repair. Sun protection is also crucial for preventing further damage. If you want to prevent sun damage on your hands, face, feet, and more, sun protection is the key.
Living in a place with high pollution levels, such as smog, smoke, and exhaust fumes, can harm your skin’s outer barrier and cause intense damage. These air pollutants cause various visible damages, from inflammation to acne to eczema.
If you want to start repairing damaged skin from pollution, you must protect your skin by removing makeup, moisturising, and wearing protective clothing.
Certain products can harm your skin, causing damage that can last a long time. Fragrances in skincare products might lead to a rash or allergic reactions. If you react to a certain fragrance, that means that you’re allergic to a component in that fragrance.
If you go for skin bleaching, you might experience skin bleaching damage. That can lead to thinning skin, scarring, or too much lightening.
Many people also experience issues with retinol. When used correctly, they can have a positive effect on your skin. Used improperly, you may experience damage to the skin. Retinol damage often appears as irritation, peeling, and dryness.
You may also experience more sensitivity to the sun.
Treatments Skin Damage
Many skincare treatments help your skin build back its barrier and smooth out damages. Chemical peels help treat discoloration, scarring, fine lines, and wrinkles. It is a very effective sun-damaged skin treatment.
Laser resurfacing helps stimulate new skin cell growth, leading to fewer wrinkles, reduced scarring, and skin tightening.
For treatments to have the best effects, find an excellent skincare aestheticist for helpful advice and high-quality treatment. It makes a difference.
While not all damage can be completely reversed, you can reduce the appearance of skin damage and go about preventing further damage from occurring. Read on for some of the best ways to repair and prevent damaged skin.
Using high-quality skincare products is the right path toward healing damaged skin and preventing further damage from happening.
The amount of water you drink affects the appearance of your skin. Drink plenty of water to keep your skin supple and hydrated. Doing so will help minimise dryness and fine lines.
Cut Out Alcohol and Smoking
Alcohol and smoking seriously damage your skin. If you smoke and drink a lot, you will end up with premature signs of ageing like fine lines, sagging, dryness, and wrinkles. To prevent that from happening, cut these habits out. You don’t have to cut out drinking altogether – just watch how much you consume and avoid drinking too much in one sitting.
Stay Out of the Sun
Sun and wrinkles go hand in hand. Sun damage causes premature ageing; plus, it increases your chances of getting skin cancer. To prevent sun-damaged skin, stay out of the sun and use a high SPF every time you step outside. Sun-protective clothing like hats and long-sleeved tops are also handy. Preventing sun damage is much easier than repairing sun-damaged skin, so don’t skimp on sun protection.
Build a Skincare Routine
A good skincare routine can make a world of difference to your skin, helping to repair the damages already made, as well as prevent further damage in the future. When building a skincare routine, keep an eye on the ingredients and only add one product at a time into your routine so that you know whether it pairs right with your skin.
Skin damage FAQs
What is Skin Damage?
Skin damage is damage to the skin. This is often caused by natural and environmental triggers, like sun damage, ageing, pollution, and lifestyle habits. When damage occurs, visible damage might be seen as can premature ageing.
What are the Signs of Skin Damage?
The signs may vary from person to person, but you might expect to see wrinkles and fine links, hyperpigmentation, broken skin, uneven texture on the skin, and dryness. Other skin problems you may also experience include loose, sagging skin and sun spots.
Can Skin Damage Be Reversed?
Some skin damage can be renewed, but it can’t be reversed. Instead, you can minimise the signs of the damage already done. For example, you can use a chemical peel for sun spots, which will reduce their appearance, but you cannot reverse the UV damage to DNA.
When Should I Visit a Dermatologist?
If you have any issues with your skin, whether you have blemish-prone skin or you think you have sun damage, you should visit a dermatologist. A dermatologist can recommend high-quality treatments and products to help repair your skin’s barriers. Plus, if you experience skin conditions such as psoriasis or eczema, they can help treat them.
What Sunscreen Provides the Most Protection?
For optimal protection from UV rays, look for a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 that protects against UVB and UVA. You can use a separate one for body and face if you’re worried about sensitivity.
How Do I Build a Good Skincare Regime?
Start with a cleanser, toner, eye cream, and moisturiser. Look for ingredients that help your particular skin. For example, if you want a regime that helps treat dry and sensitive skin, you could choose products from E45.
If you are new to skincare, speak to a dermatologist – they can help you build a routine that matches your skin and needs.
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