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Sun Damage


Learn more about sun damage and how Obagi products can help

Skin Damaged by the Sun, Prevention and Treatment

This page explores and explains the sun's impact on the skin and how it damages the surface and the delicate layers underneath. Skin that is regularly unprotected from the sun ages faster and functions more poorly. Therefore, understanding how the sun damages and ages the skin is important to prevent it from happening. Sun damage can vary widely from light sunburn to melanomas and skin cancer.

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Sun Overexposure

To be clear, any amount of unprotected exposure to the sun is not healthy or ‘good’ for your skin. 80% of skin ageing is contributed by the sun. Even on cloudy days, it is critical that people wear sunscreen. Just because you can’t see the sun in the sky does not mean the harmful rays are not hitting your skin.

UVA and UVB pierce through clouds easily. Think about how much energy is released every day from the sun and the distance it is from the earth in space. The rays can easily pierce through clouds and cause havoc on your skin, even if A) you can’t see them and B) it doesn’t immediately hurt.

This is not to scare you because years of scientific research means that humans are able to protect themselves from the sun, especially with adequate protection and precautions.


UVA and UVB Image



Definition of Photodamaged Skin

Before we dive into treating skin that has been sun damaged, it is worth defining what ‘sun damage’ is.

Photodamage is just another word for damage caused by the sun. It can also be called photoaging, solar damage or sun damage. Clearly, by the names, it’s not a good thing.

As a skincare clinic, it is difficult not to come across as overly negative about the sun or overly cautious. However, the reality is that photodamage happens every day to skin that is not adequately protected and leads to a number of characteristics that are not desirable. These include:

  • Cells within the skin that start to malfunction
  • The structure of the skin becomes damaged and deformed
  • Compromised structure leads to sagginess and wrinkles
  • An overproduction of melanin leads to brown and discoloured skin patches
  • Persistent blotches on the skin and discolouration
  • Lines and wrinkles, as well as premature ageing features

Treating Sun Damaged Skin

Now that we have looked at sun damage, we will look at what can be done to protect skin from it and how to treat skin that is already photodamaged.

The Number #1 Product In Your Skincare Regime is Your Sunscreen! - Dr Barbara

Choose sunscreen if you only ever have one product in your skincare plan. The skincare product will serve you far more than any other. This is not just to prevent superficial skin ageing, such as wrinkles, crows feet and lines, but also at a deeper molecular level.

Obagi Sunscreens and creams are specifically formulated to protect skin from the sun’s harmful rays.

Dry Skin


Characteristics of Sun Damaged Skin

  • Wrinkles
  • Lines
  • Peeling
  • Lack of freshness
  • Dry skin
  • Sallow skin
  • Deep furrows
  • Dull and non-bright skin tone
  • Loss of vibrance
  • Minimal vitality
  • Greyish and unhealthy skin colour

Sun Damage



The Different Types of Sunscreen: Chemical, Physical and Combination

Sunscreen Types: A) Chemical vs B) Physical vs C) Combination

When deciding which sunscreen is the best for you and your skin, it is worth understanding the differences. This is especially important for some skin types because picking the wrong sunscreen can mean adverse effects such as rashes and itchiness, and worst case is inadequate protection.


As you can probably guess, Chemical Sunscreens use a combination of chemicals to protect skin from the sun. The reaction is slightly different to physical in that the sun's rays and energy is absorbed and diffused. This is done safely in the form of heat energy into the skin.

  • Sun energy is absorbed into the skin in the form of heat energy
  • Broad Spectrum SPF ensures protection from UVA and UVB rays



On the other hand, physical ensures the skin is protected from the sun in a different way. This way is done by having physical properties such as zinc in the ingredients to actively deflect and reflect the sun's harmful rays.

  • Action cause deflection and reflection of rays
  • Active ingredients include: zinc oxide and titanium oxide


As you probably guessed, a combination sunscreen combines chemical ingredients and physical components to produce a protective effect.





Tips To Protect Your Skin

Here is a daily, monthly, and yearly checklist to help guide people to stay protected from the sun.


  • Wear sunscreen!
  • Ensure the sun cream or sunscreen you use is a broad-spectrum SPF
  • Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30
  • Do not use tanning booths (sun beds)
  • Regularly apply sunscreen and make sure the first time is 15 minutes before exposure.

How to Protect Your Skin Man And Woman


  • Review your skin to notice any changes
  • Ask your partner or a loved one to help examine areas you can’t see
  • Areas that are regularly exposed are more important than frequently in sunlight


  • Go for a full body scan
  • Get the help of a skincare professional to assess your skin

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