Sun damage and pigmentation

Created: 03.08.2023

Updated: 22.12.2023

Approved by: General Practitioner, Dr Binita Parmar

Sun exposure is frequently linked to the warmth and relaxation of summer days, and although moderate sunlight can confer several health benefits, minimal sun exposure without appropriate protection can still lead to skin damage. This damage is particularly more pronounced in individuals with lighter skin tones, who are more vulnerable to the sun's harmful effects. Sun-induced skin damage can appear in various forms, including eczema, premature wrinkling, or pigmentation spots, highlighting the critical need for diligent skin protection measures. Whether it's through high-SPF sunscreens, protective clothing, or seeking shade during peak hours, taking steps to shield the skin from the sun is essential in maintaining its health and preventing premature ageing.

What is sun damage and pigmentation?

There are many different forms of sun damage, and consequently, some forms are more serious than others. Some of the most serious consequences of sun exposure are Melanoma (mole cancer), Actinic keratosis (a precursor to cancer) and Basal cell cancer (skin cancer).

Pigmented spots are areas of the skin with a darker colour than the rest of the skin, and are most commonly found on the face, hands and other sun-exposed areas. Common types of pigmented spots include age spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma. Common to all is that a small dark area is formed on the skin. Pigmentation spots are frequently a result of sun exposure. However, it's crucial to recognise that other factors, including genetics, certain medications, and pregnancy, can also contribute to their development.

How to avoid sun damage

The best thing you can do to avoid sun damage is to be aware of when and how you stay in the sun:

  • Avoid being in the sun for too long at a time. This is especially true in the summer and in the middle of the day, when the sun is at its strongest.
  • Use enough sunscreen and a minimum Sun Protection Factor of 30. It is important to reapply every two hours, or more often if you bathe or sweat a lot.
  • Protect yourself with clothing, a cap/hat and sunglasses, and stay in the shade whenever possible.
  • Avoid using tanning beds.

General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.


At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.