Skin Sun Damage

Any uncontrolled suntanning directly damages the skin. During life, these damages accumulate, and a final consequence is the development of skin tumors and melanoma. Skin damage before the age of 20 are the most dangerous ones, and because of that, Sun protection in that period is of the utmost importance.

Except for protection, it is important that You recognize that skin sun damage has occured, because if You can spot it in time, You will be able to timely react and stop the ongoing process.

What is considered to be skin sun damage?


Most of the population considers redness to be a normal side effect to getting a tan, but that is a farse.

Redness presents a skin burn of the I degree. It is not normal, nor natural for Your skin to be warm, red, dry, painful and tight after tanning, all of these combined point to skin damage and shouldn’t be regarded to as natural.


Blisters that appear after tanning present a II degree burn. These are deeper and more serious skin damage with permanent consequences and with increased risk for developing benign and malignant lesions of the skin.


Wounds present the deepest and most serious skin damage with the highest risk for developing all skin carcinomas.


Freckles occur as the mildest, temporary skin sun damage with persons with phototype 1skin. These persons, when exposed to the Sun, don’t get a tan, but develop freckles (on the face, decolletage, back and arms). Freckles last for the duration of summer, and go away when the fall comes and decrease in Sun exposure with it.

Sun Spots

Sun Spots are permanent sun damage, that can be differentiated from a classic spot only by duration. Once they appear, sunspots never go away by themselves again.

*They were previously known as old people spots, because only the members of the older population have managed to accumulate enough damage to the skin of the face or arms during life to develop these spots. Today is a common occurence that young people at the age of 20 have this kind of lesions on the face, decolletage and back, because sun exposure is not controlled, and in many cases it’s even combined with sunbeds .


Keratoses are skin lesions of brown color, dry and crumbling to the touch. They develop in people with a predisposition, and/or during many years of accumulated skin sun damage.

Flakes and crusts

Flakes and crusts that fall off are signs of deeper skin damage, and are usually found on surfaces that are permanently exposed to the sun.

Light 'pimples'

Light ‘pimples’ are the sign of deeper skin damage. Most often they are seen on the face. They are not real pimples, and they can’t be drained out. They present prominations on the skin in places where it’s damaged.


Telangiectasias (broken capillaries) are blood vessel damage made under the influence of UV rays. Most often they are seen on the face or decolletage.

Skin elastosis

Skin elastosis presents deep skin sun damage.because of the loss of deeper supportive structures like collagen and elastin, skin becomes thin.

Any new lesion on the skin, especially ones that become noticeable after intense tanning, are potentially the warning sign that skin sun damage has occured.

What else can indicate that skin sun damage has occured?

Flaking and peeling of the skin after sun tanning are very important signs that skin sun damage has ocuured.

If Your skin starts flaking or even peel after tanning, then You should know that Your exposure to the Sun has been excessive and that next time You should take better care because Your skin has been damaged.

Sun damages skin lesions as well as skin itself


If after tanning You notice that Your mole has suddenly had a change of color, size or shape, or it has acquired any new characterstic, You should always dermoscopically examin it.

Freckles and spots

  • Itch – the occurence of itch in these lesions after sun tanning indicates damage. Usually this is a temporary and superficial damage. In all cases when an itch doesn’t go away after 1 to 3 days, more significant damage has occured.
  • Crusts on spots or freckles don’t normally appear. However, if they do appear, they are a sign of deeper damage.


Scars change color in the Sun, and that is considered to be a regular occurence, but if after tanning You notice any of the following changes to a scar, You should know that damage has occured:

  • wound
  • bleeding
  • any new growth on a scar

And finally, if You notice any of the aforementioned signs, please contact Your physician. The appearance of these signs clearly marks that skin sun damage has taken place, but that doesn’t necessarilly mean that You have skin carcinoma or melanoma. In most cases, it’s only required to protect Your skin from further damage, and in a minority of cases, You will report it in time and be cured by a simple intervention.

Skin cancer and melanoma are curable, when they are reported in time and adequately treated, but it's even better if you can prevent them from developing, in time.
Think preventively!