Repairing Sun-Damaged Skin: Medical Procedures That Can Help

As an older, middle-aged person, you probably did not hear about the bad effects of the sun on your skin until you were a teenager or young adult. By then, the lack of prevention and protection to your skin had already set the stage for the future health and appearance of your skin. If you want to turn back the clock and make your skin a little healthier, there are medical procedures that can help. They are mostly cosmetic in nature (unless you have already been diagnosed with skin cancer), so the majority of the expense comes out of your pocket. If you still want to proceed, here are some of the treatments you can get.


Sun spots, which are also called "liver" spots, are areas of dark discoloration on your skin. They should not be confused with freckles, since freckles are small dots of darker pigmentation. Instead, sun/liver spots are large patches of skin that vary from dark peach to almost blackest black, depending on your skin tone. Bleaching can lighten these areas so that your skin is all one uniform tone and color. If done by a doctor or plastic surgeon, no further damage occurs to the underlying layers of skin.

Photodynamic Therapy and Aminolevulinic Acid

This two-step approach to removing thick, blotchy patches of skin (keratoses) first uses the aminolevulinc acid to "highlight" and slough the patches and show the surgeon to what depths the photodynamic laser needs to shave through. Then the photodynamic laser makes several precision sweeps over the surface of these patches until most of these spots is no longer visible via the photosensitizing effects of the aminolevulinic acid. This is one treatment you may definitely want to consider if you already have the very early signs of skin cancer, since the combination of these two treatments eliminates cancerous cells and prevents them from spreading to nearby tissues.

Laser Exfoliation

While regular exfoliation with your morning washcloth can help remove the constant collection of dead skin cells on the surface, sun damage repair for your skin requires something a little more intense. Laser exfoliation uses short bursts of either a hot or cold laser (depending on the depth of the damage and/or skin sensitivity) to remove very thin layers of dead skin until new skin cells sit at or just below the surface. A licensed aesthetician or a cosmetic surgeon can provide this service, although a surgeon is a better choice in the event that your skin has a reaction to the laser and needs medical treatment. Contact a dermatologist for more sun damage repair tips.