Sun, Science and Skin: How Sun Damage Causes Skin to Prematurely Age

Sun damage accounts for about 80% of the wrinkles on our body, with repeated exposure to sunlight causing skin damage, changes in skin elasticity, colour and feel, as well as increasing the risk of skin cancer.

At Aesthetic Skin Clinic, we want to help you achieve the skin of your dreams. Here, we’ll show you the science behind sun damaged skin, see how your skin is affected by repeated exposure to the sun, and look at what treatments you can use to turn back the clock.

Surprised woman


Sunlight is, in some ways, very good for us. It has been found to increase our overall happiness and is imperative to sustaining healthy levels of vitamin D. However, repeated exposure can be very bad for your skin, speeding up the aging process and in many cases causing irreversible damage.

Sunlight is made up of two types of rays, UVA and UVB. UVA rays are always present no matter what time of year it is or what the weather is like, with some rays being powerful enough to penetrate clothing. UVA rays are responsible for causing signs of premature aging such as wrinkles and sun spots, as well as leading to the skin looking and feeling leathery.

UVB rays cause what is typically known as sunburn. All sunscreens protect against these rays, although only some protect against both UVA and UVB rays, otherwise known as ‘broad spectrum’. The strength of UVB rays varies throughout the year, and is responsible for causing most skin cancers.


We all know that sun exposure causes our skin to prematurely age, but do you know precisely what causes this?

There are particular signs of aging that are known to be primarily caused and accelerated by sun exposure. Some of these include:

  • Fine and coarse wrinkles
  • Discoloured area of the skin (mottled pigmentation)
  • Sallowness; a yellow discolouration of the skin
  • Elastosis; loss of elastin and collagen tissue

Premature aging is primarily down to UVA rays, which cause our skin to break down elastin and collagen. This makes skin feel thinner, more transparent and begin to sag, causing skin to look significantly older.

Over time, the damage from repeated exposure to these harmful rays will cause wrinkles and pigment changes. A sun tan is a sign of damaged skin, where skin cells have been placed under trauma from harmful UVA and UVB rays and respond to try and repair the damage. It’s under these circumstances that cancerous cells can form.

Summer Days


Although the sun does inflict immense damage on our skin, you don’t have to suffer with the signs of premature aging. There are a variety of treatments available that can help you to turn back the clock.

Areas that have suffered repeated exposure to the sun, particularly the face, can benefit greatly for smoothing treatments. These can include botox and chemical peels, which will work to significantly reduce visible wrinkles. For more severe damage, skin can be transformed with a full face lift.

Hands and arms, as well as other areas of the body, can also show signs of premature aging as a result of harmful UVA and UVB rays. For these areas, a skin tightening treatment such as a body thermage can transform your skin in a way you never thought possible, having smoothing and tightening effects that will make you look and feel younger.

The sun significantly speeds up the aging process, causing wrinkles, fine lines and changes in pigmentation. However, you don’t have to suffer with the signs of premature aging. At Aesthetic Skin Clinic, we can help you by providing a wide range of quality treatments, such as botox, face lifts and skin tightening in Northern Ireland. For more information, contact us today by calling 01481 136699.