What Does Sun Damaged Skin Look Like?

by: Thea Christie, January 12, 2021

Years of spending time outdoors or lying beneath the sun inevitably take a toll on our skin. Dark spots, sagging skin, wrinkles and discoloration betray the hours and days we’ve spent exposed to the elements. Unfortunately for sun lovers, sun damage can age our skin prematurely and increase our risk of developing skin cancer. Read on for the most common signs and symptoms of sun damage and how to identify signs as quickly as possible.

Sun Damage On The Face: Signs & Symptoms To Look Out For

Unlike typical, chronological aging, which is determined by your age and genetics, sun damage occurs when UV light from the sun permanently changes the skin’s structure. These symptoms include:

Rough, Dry Skin Texture

After many years of UV exposure, you may develop textural changes in the skin. The symptoms include scaly patches and crusty skin that is thicker in density and raised from the surface. As stated by the American Academy of Dermatology Association, you may spot deep lines or dry, scaly patches called actinic keratoses (AKs). An AK is a pre-cancerous skin growth. According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, this type of sun damage can also lead to skin cancer; an AK sometimes turns into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma. Keeping an eye on any changes in your skin and consulting a doctor will help you catch any potential skin cancers early.

Wrinkles & Fine Lines

Long-term changes in the skin's collagen, which gives the skin its elasticity, can be a symptom of sun damage. These long-term changes can include fine lines, wrinkles and a thickened skin texture. Unfortunately, lengthy exposure to UV rays prematurely ages your skin and results in the loss of collagen and skin elasticity. In fact an astonishing 90% of visible aging is caused by exposure to the sun’s UV rays.