3 Surprising Effects of UV Rays on the Skin

Did you know that the sun can cause more than just fine lines and wrinkles? The sun can also cause conditions like actinic keratosis, sun spots, and solar elastosis. 

Solar elastosis

Solar elastosis happens to people later on in life. This is a skin condition that presents with a leathery texture and thickened patches. There can be a yellowish discoloration too, especially on the back of the neck, arms, and hands. Solar elastosis can happen to areas that have been exposed to the sun for years on end, and it normally happens once people hit their 40s, 50s, and onward ages. 

It can also happen to younger people though. However, there are ways to help deal with this and prevent it. 

What causes solar elastosis? 

When the sun hits the skin, it damages collagen and elastin. But with solar elastosis, your skin begins to overcompensate. As a reaction to the skin’s UV rays, your skin creates more of the elastin, the strong and stretchy stuff. 

But, it overdoes it, and the skin ends up feeling leathery and thickened. Solar elastosis requires a diagnosis. But, sunscreen, staying out of the sun, and using hats can definitely help. Some doctors and derms even inject Botox into solar elastosis. They’re also laser treatments and IPL that can help. Yes, IPL, the light technology used for hair removal, can also be used for solar elastosis.

Also, don’t forget about retinoids. If you’re struggling with solar elastosis, and you want something over the counter, OTC retinoids help. But, the prescription stuff, specifically tretinoin, is where it’s at.

Tretinoin is probably going to be the best for solar elastosis because it’s thickened skin, and retinoids can help speed up the process of cellular turnover. In general, the skin is a little more tolerant when it’s thicker so you won’t have to worry as much about the tretinoin sensitizing it. You will need to use sunscreen over it though.  

Agency Custom Blended Future Formula 

This is Cassandra’s future formula, and it does have tretinoin in it. This also has other ingredients like dexpanthenol and tranexamic acid. These ingredients also work for treating pigmentation from the sun. Again, when using something like this, make sure you use a sunscreen along with it.

Biossance Squalane + Zinc Sheer Mineral Sunscreen - $32

Cassandra loves this formula because of the flashback-free formula.

Black Girl Sunscreen Disney's The Little Mermaid & Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30 - $18.99 

This is a good chemical sunscreen choice, and Cassandra loves this one. 

Sunspots (Solar lentigo)

Sunspots are not dangerous, and they usually don’t turn into cancer. But, if you have them, it can indicate that moles on the body need to be checked. Sun spots are flat brown or gray spots, and you don’t have to be concerned about them.

But, given that they normally only appear in places where the sun hits, people normally don’t like the way they look. While age spots and liver spots are thought to happen to older people, they can actually happen on young skin as well, especially if that skin has been exposed to the sun.

The best way to prevent sunspots is to prevent excessive sun exposure. Prevention is easier than treatment. In addition to sunscreen and staying in the shade, this can also mean looking for ingredients that balance skin pigmentation.

Agency Custom Dark Spot Formula 

If you’re noticing sun spots on the cheeks or on the backs of your hands, you can get prescription-strength hydroquinone or retinoids. You can also use vitamin C or tranexamic acid. All of these ingredients help with dark spots.

Cassandra uses her Agency Custom Dark Spot Formula on areas where she’s noticed a little damage. Cassandra’s formula has hydroquinone, kojic acid, azelaic acid, and resveratrol. Any of these active ingredients help with dark spots and pigmentation, specifically sun spots.

These sunscreens also have vitamin C in them. So, they help brighten the skin and protect the skin from the sun.

Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 - $26.25  

This one gives you a glow, and it’s better for dry skin.

Supergoop! PLAY Antioxidant Body Mist SPF 50 $18

This is a body sunscreen that goes on completely sheer with vitamin C. But, if you’re okay with it looking a little oily and dewy, you even dab this on the face. 



While keloids are not caused by UV radiation, the sun can definitely make them worse. The sun damages our skin, our DNA, and the way our skin cells regrow and regenerate. Sun exposure can actually thicken and darken the tissue. You might also be familiar with this if you’ve struggled with keloids. Keloids require a diagnosis and doctors often treat them with steroids, but sunscreen always helps.

Good Molecules Sheer Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 - $12

This is one of the few whole body physical sunscreens. Plus, it's completely sheer!