Sun damage usually occurs in our early years before the age of 20, however, this sun damage accumulates and only begins to show up from the age of 35 and onwards, and progressively worsens as we age.

Sun damage

What is sun damage?

Sun damage (photoaging) describes the negative effects of prolonged ultraviolet (UV) exposure on the skin.

While occasional sun exposure can boost vitamin D production, excessive sun can lead to skin alterations.

Over time, this can manifest as sunburn, hyperpigmentation, sunspots, and even skin cancer.

At Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates, we are experts in diagnosing and treating the various impacts of sun damage, ensuring tailored care for each patient.

Learn about the types of sun damage and the range of sun damage treatments we offer to help patients restore their skin’s health and radiance. You can also contact us to book your consultation today.

Learn about

Sun Damage Conditions

At Dr. Nerina Wilkinson + Associates, we are experts in identifying and tackling a wide range of sun damage conditions, crafting each treatment plan to meet our patient’s distinct skin needs.

As specialists in skin science and aesthetic medicine, we provide our patients with a selection of treatments and expert advice, addressing conditions like uneven pigmentation, vascularity/rosacea, wrinkles and sagging, hyperpigmentation, melasma, sunspots, premature ageing and freckles.

Our comprehensive knowledge of sun damage, combined with our dedication to state-of-the-art therapeutic methods, ensures that we efficiently handle sun-related skin issues, elevating our patients’ self-esteem and bringing back their skin’s luminous vitality.

Learn more about the types of sun damage conditions below and contact us to book your consultation.

Premature ageing

Premature aging presents as age spots, leathery skin, and liver spots, often intensified by environmental factors. While elements like sun exposure play roles, the aftermath disrupts skin’s youthful texture. Addressing this aims to rejuvenate skin appearance, uplifting confidence, and improving skin’s overall health.


Hyperpigmentation manifests as darker skin patches, due to heightened melanin production. Commonly caused by sun exposure, genetic predispositions, or certain conditions, it affects a smooth skin appearance. Addressing it prioritises achieving a balanced skin tone, fostering confidence, and promoting skin wellness.

Actinic keratoses

Actinic keratoses present as rough, scaly patches, often stemming from prolonged sun exposure. These pre-cancerous growths can disrupt skin’s smoothness. Intervention aims at treating affected areas, bolstering self-confidence, and fortifying overall skin health.


Sunspots, small brown patches, result mainly from prolonged UV exposure. These marks, though harmless, can disrupt an even skin aesthetic. Treatments aim at diminishing these spots, elevating self-esteem, and rejuvenating one’s natural glow.

We provide the following

Types of Sun Damage Treatments

At Dr. Nerina Wilkinson + Associates, we’re experts in innovative sun damage treatments, meticulously adapting each strategy to meet the individual requirements of our patients’ skin.

Utilising our expertise in aesthetic medicine, we guide our patients’ journey towards their skin goals using our range of treatments, including Cosmelan/Dermamelan, Vampire Facial Treatments, I-Peel-L Bespoke, Harmony XL Pro Clearlift, Lumecca IPL, and MELINE Chemical Peels (to name a few) – all designed to unveil a radiant and even-toned complexion.

Our experience and dedication to the latest in sun-damage treatment technology ensure effective therapy of varied sun damage conditions, elevating patients’ confidence and rejuvenating the skin’s intrinsic vitality.

Learn more about the types of sun damage treatments we provide and contact us to book your next sun damage treatment.

3D MD PRP (Dr Vampire Facial)

Vampire facial treatments are minimally-invasive cosmetic procedures that utilise the powerful regenerative effects of our own platelet-rich plasma (PRP).
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I-PEEL-L Bespoke

An I-Peel-L Bespoke treatment combines the LUMECCA IPL treatment and Skin Tech Easy TCA Pain Control Peel to achieve faster and more dramatic results, after just one treatment.
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Lumecca™ IPL

LUMECCA™ IPL treatments are specifically designed to help patients achieve a more even complexion with an instantly bright and healthy glow.
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Cosmelan and Dermamelan by Mesoestetic is a clinical topical treatment specifically formulated to not only depigment the skin at surface level but also treat underlying causes.
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MELINE® Chemical Peels

Gently exfoliate your skin by dissolving the bonds between the cells in the top layer of your skin to stimulate cell turnover and as a result, obtain an even tone and healthy glowing skin.
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Harmony® XL Pro Clearlift

The ClearLift treatment can treat a variety of age-related skin imperfections including wrinkles, fine lines, photodamage, pigmentation, uneven skin tone, and skin laxity.
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3D Bespoke Treatment

This treatment consists of 3 modalities completed in one intensive and completely bespoke treatment to target concerns such as pigmentation, rosacea, acne and ageing.
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TCA Chemical Peels

A medium-depth TCA (Trichloracetic Acid) peel is a quick, mild downtime procedure that renews the skin by lifting dead cells off the surface of your skin and stimulating the metabolism of the cells underneath.
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Frequently asked questions about sun damage conditions & treatments

What causes sun damage?

Sun damage primarily results from prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays, which harm the outer layer of the skin. Over time, these rays break down the skin’s collagen and elastin, leading to wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of damage. Environmental factors and inadequate sun protection can exacerbate this effect on the skin’s outer layer.

What are the causes of uneven pigmentation?

Uneven pigmentation can arise from several reasons. Factors such as differences in skin tones, areas exposed to the sun, hormonal changes, and injuries can lead to variations in melanin distribution. Being frequently exposed to the sun can notably intensify these disparities in skin colouring.

At Dr. Nerina Wilkinson + Associates, our focus is on pinpointing the underlying reasons for your uneven pigmentation with our cutting-edge VISIA Skin Analysis. Grasping the cause empowers us to offer the optimal solutions tailored to you. Book a consultation with our dedicated specialists today.

Can you fix sun damage?

Absolutely, sun damage can be addressed and mitigated with the right treatments. It’s crucial to protect your skin from further harm with diligent sun protection.

For existing damage, treatments like Cosmelan/Dermamelan, Vampire Facial Treatments, I-PEEL-L Bespoke and Lumecca IPL (to name a few) are highly effective. These therapies can rejuvenate the skin, lessen the effects of sun damage, and restore a more youthful, radiant appearance. Always consult with a skin specialist to find the best approach tailored to your needs.

What are the signs of sun damage?

Sun damage manifests in various ways on the skin. Common indicators include uneven pigmentation, premature ageing with symptoms like age spots and leathery skin, actinic keratoses presenting as scaly patches, and conditions like sunburn and freckles. Additionally, prolonged exposure can lead to more severe issues such as skin cancer. It’s essential to regularly check the skin for changes and consult with a specialist when uncertain.

Utilising tools like the VISIA Skin Analysis, our specialists can provide a detailed assessment of the signs and extent of sun damage, allowing for a more targeted and effective treatment plan.

What helps heal sun damage?

Healing sun damage requires a multi-faceted approach. First and foremost, consistent use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF) is essential to shield the skin from further UV damage.

Sun protection doesn’t stop there; it’s also beneficial to wear protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses when exposed to direct sunlight. 

To address existing damage, treatments such as Cosmelan/Dermamelan, 3D MD PRP (Dr Vampire), I-PEEL-L Bespoke, Harmony XL Pro Clearlift, and Lumecca IPL have been shown effective.

How do I choose the right treatment for sun damage?

Starting with an expert consultation is vital to understand and address sun damage accurately. It’s essential to engage with seasoned specialists who can conduct a thorough evaluation of your skin’s current condition, while also gauging your specific skincare desires and objectives.

Our distinctive and holistic aesthetic couture consultation ensures that you can express and assess your concerns and aspirations. Our team of experts will then offer tailored recommendations. This detailed approach ensures that we identify the most suitable sun damage treatments for your unique needs. Book your specialised sun damage consultation now!

Which skin disorders can the sun cause?

Prolonged and unprotected exposure to the sun can lead to various skin disorders. 

Three common conditions attributed to sun damage include

  • Actinic keratosis, characterised by rough, scaly patches on the skin; 
  • Melanoma, a serious type of skin cancer; and 
  • Sunburn, which is the skin’s immediate response to excessive UV radiation. 

It’s crucial to protect your skin from harmful UV rays to reduce the risk of these and other sun-related conditions.

What does sun damage on the skin look like?

Sun damage on the skin can manifest in various ways, reflecting the cumulative effects of prolonged UV exposure. 

Common signs include uneven pigmentation, such as sunspots, freckles, and melasma

The skin might also exhibit actinic keratosis, which are rough, scaly patches. Other indicators are a leathery skin texture, wrinkles, sagging, and, in more severe cases, skin cancers like melanoma. 

Utilising tools like the VISIA Skin Analysis can offer a detailed insight into sun-induced changes in one’s complexion.

How to treat sunspots?

Sunspots are primarily induced by extended UV exposure, leaving behind darkened skin patches. Addressing them often involves a fusion of topical solutions and specific treatments that protect the skin from further sun damage and lessen existing spots.

If you want to address and treat sunspots, consult with a skincare specialist at Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates. We offer focused treatments such as ME LINE Chemical Peels and Lumecca IPL, tailored to your individual skin concerns. Arrange a consultation to discern the optimal treatment for your condition.

How to treat actinic keratoses?

Actinic keratoses arise from prolonged UV exposure, manifesting as rough, scaly patches on the skin’s surface. Effective management often requires a combination of prescription creams and clinical procedures to both address existing lesions and prevent progression.

At Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates, we utilise our expertise to address actinic keratoses. Through treatments like the Harmony XL Pro ClearLift and Erbium iPIXEL, individualised strategies are developed to combat this sun-induced condition. To tailor a treatment course suited to your needs, consider scheduling a consultation with our team.

How to prevent wrinkles and sagging?

Prevention of wrinkles and sagging starts with a holistic approach to skincare. Consistent sun protection, using broad-spectrum sunscreen and protective clothing, is crucial. Additionally, maintaining hydration, following a skin-friendly diet, and using products with antioxidants and collagen-boosting ingredients can further deter skin ageing.

Our team at Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates deeply understands the skin’s ageing process. By offering treatments such as Harmony XL Pro Clearlift and our range of signature skincare treatments, combined with expert advice on skincare routines, the team aids in both prevention and rejuvenation. Begin your journey to youthful skin with a consultation today!

How to get rid of sun damage on the face?

Addressing sun damage on the face requires a multi-pronged approach. Firstly, integrating a broad-spectrum sunscreen into your daily routine is essential to prevent further damage. For existing damage, a combination of topical treatments, chemical peels, and more advanced procedures (such as the signature I-PEEL-L Bespoke) can be effective.

At Dr Nerina Wilkinson + Associates, treatments like Cosmelan/Dermamelan, Vampire Facial Treatments, Lumecca IPL, and the I-PEEL-L Bespoke (to name just a few) are specially designed to tackle sun damage. Alongside these, Harmony XL Pro Clearlift further aids in rejuvenating sun-damaged skin. Scheduling a consultation can guide you toward the most effective treatment tailored to your skin’s needs.

How to get vitamin D without sun damage

While sunlight is a primary source of vitamin D, it’s possible to achieve adequate levels without risking sun damage. Here’s how:

  • Dietary Sources: Consume foods naturally rich in vitamin D, such as fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, and tuna), fortified dairy products, and egg yolks.
  • Vitamin D Supplements: Consider taking vitamin D supplements after discussing with a healthcare professional to ensure the right dosage.
  • Short Sun Exposures: Get limited sun exposure during less intense hours (early morning or late afternoon), ensuring that it’s brief.
  • Protective Measures: When outside, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and seek shade to minimise UV exposure while still benefiting from the sun.
  • UV-Free Light Therapy: Some clinics offer UV-free light therapy that can boost vitamin D levels without the risks associated with sun exposure.

To learn more, explore our ultimate guide to vitamin D!

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Start your skin science journey

As specialists in sun damage and aesthetic treatments, we lead you on a tailored journey to vibrant, sun-kissed skin without the harm. Leveraging groundbreaking treatments and advanced techniques, our aesthetic skincare experts probe deeply to address and mitigate your sun-induced concerns with exceptional skill.

Contact us today for an in-depth consultation at our exclusive private practice in the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.