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How to Reverse Sun Damage

Everyone loves a stroll under the warmth of the sun, but most people don’t consider the harm that sun exposure can cause to the skin over time. Although sunlight is important to your health, especially when taking a jog or going to work, premature aging is often caused by direct exposure to sunlight. The sun emits ultraviolet (UV) rays, which significantly contribute to sun damage such as sunburns, dry skin, and wrinkles. It’s important to know that there are more ways than ever to reverse sun damage, so here are some of the best options on the market.


When dead skin accumulates on the skin surface, it can deaden your skin’s appearance and cause it to look wrinkled. The exfoliation process removes these dead skin particles, making it easy for new skin cell rejuvenation and also reveals a healthy layer of skin underneath. This rejuvenation leaves your skin looking younger and brighter. Depending on your skin type, you can either choose to use a chemical or physical exfoliant.

  • Chemical exfoliants are used for sensitive skin since they dissolve or loosen the dead skin.
  • Physical exfoliants are applied on the face and used to gently scrub off the dead skin.

Making this a regular part of your skincare regimen can help boost your skin’s cell growth and prevent the buildup of dead cells on the surface.


For sun-damaged skin, Vitamin A can stimulate the production of collagen, which speeds up the shedding of dead skin and generating new cells. This method is ideal for fading brown spots and improving skin penetration. Vitamin A comes in forms called retinoids and can require the help of your dermatologist to find the correct dosage and use. It can also come with side effects, so your dermatologist can guide you through it. One of our favorite Vitamin A products is the Revision Retinol Complete which has the benefits of Vitamin A with an advanced formula allowing it to be gentler than other retinol products, yet still effective with the benefits of Vitamin A.


You can spend all your time reversing the effects of sun damage on your skin but still struggle to see results if you don’t use sunscreen regularly. Ultraviolet rays are responsible for concerns like severe tan and skin damage after exposing yourself to the sun. If you can’t avoid going outdoors at the sunniest parts of the day or covering up, consider investing in a good sunscreen. Experts recommend anything with at least 30 SPF and above which you should apply about one hour before going outside and reapplying every couple hours after.


In the case where other solutions don’t get the results you want, laser therapy is a great treatment option. Laser therapy helps improve already sun-damaged skin by eliminating brown-spots and wrinkles. It works by administering light energy to damaged skin to repair and regenerate new skin cells. It’s preferred for its painless nature and non-invasive nature. There are many different options for laser therapy, so your dermatologist can recommend your best options. One possibility is IPL, or Intense Pulsed Light Laser therapy. This treatment directs light energy to hyperpigmented areas of the skin, helping to restore the tone and texture that has become sun-damaged. The Hollywood Laser Peel is another option, which is an effective non-ablative treatment. This means that it works to rejuvenate sun-damaged skin without removing a layer of skin cells, resulting in less downtime.


While investing in skincare products and trying at-home remedies can be effective, in some cases your best option is to pursue a minimally invasive in-office treatment. For sun-damaged skin, we often recommend the following:

  • Microneedling: creating micro-injuries in the skin to stimulate the body’s healing response, resulting in new collagen production and a more even tone and texture.
  • OxyGeneo: a facial which exfoliates the skin and delivers powerful active ingredients, resulting in improved blood flow and a rejuvenated appearance.
  • Chemical Peels: a facial treatment in which the top layer of the skin is carefully exfoliated, revealing a smoother, more even surface after a short period of downtime.


Azelaic acid is an essential ingredient for reversing sun damage since it works to remove dark spots that result from sunburns. It also discourages the excess production of melanin, which is the leading cause of the dark spots on the skin surface. Your dermatologist can recommend the best way to incorporate this into your regimen. We frequently recommend our WVCM Skin Perx STAY BRIGHT pads, which are a convenient method of delivering azelaic acid as well as phytic and lactic acids to the skin for a brighter, glowing complexion.


Sun damage can be difficult to overcome, but it’s important to remember you’ve got options. To meet with our expert team and learn more about the best ways to achieve clear, glowing skin, contact our Pewaukee office by calling or filling out our online form.

Owner / On-Site Medical Director at Wisconsin Vein Center & MediSpa | Website

Dr. Deborah Manjoney is a board-certified surgeon and physician with extensive training, including cardiothoracic surgery. She founded the Wisconsin Vein Center & MediSpa in 2002, where she specializes in vein treatments and minimally invasive aesthetic procedures. Dr. Manjoney is nationally recognized, having spoken at conferences, received awards, and contributed to medical publications.