Exploring Common Skin Issues: Sun Spots, Fine Lines, Wrinkles, and More

Written by: Christine VanDoren, nutritionist

Fact checked by: Heather Snead, Licensed Esthetician

4 women from diverse backgrounds

The skin is the largest and most visible organ of the body. Smooth, radiant, and healthy skin is a beauty boost that people cannot easily ignore. However, this should not be a rare sight, especially as the skin is the defining organ of our physical identity throughout our lifetime.

Hence, skin concerns like non-cystic acne, redness, and dryness should be discussed globally. This is because these discussions create an awareness of possible skin imbalances and also arm people with the requisite knowledge of the causes, symptoms, and professional treatment options to choose from. 

The Basics of Skin Health

The first thing to know to groom your skin healthily is the basic structure and functions of the skin. This knowledge is crucial in understanding how the skin works, what structures and functions can be disrupted, and how skin medications and treatments work to give a healthier skin.

The skin has three layers, and they include the following:

  • Epidermis: The epidermis is the most superficial layer of the skin. It forms a water-proof barrier for the skin. This prevents water, chemicals, and other particles from getting into the body. 
  • Dermis: The dermis layer of the skin is just beneath the epidermis. It is made of two layers —- a thin upper layer that connects to the epidermis above and a thick lower layer closer to the hypodermis below. Further, the dermis is the part of the skin that hairs, sweat glands, hair follicles, muscles, blood vessels, and sensory neurons originate from or pass through to get to the surface. 
  • Hypodermis: The hypodermis is the deepest layer of the skin. It contains fats such as adipose tissue, sensory neurons, hair follicles, and blood vessels.

More importantly, the skin is among the body's vital organs due to its functions. Some of them include the following: 

  • Protection: The skin acts as a tough barrier to prevent microorganisms, chemicals, objects, and even sun rays from entering the body's environment. 
  • Temperature regulation: The skin is the body's thermostat, as it saves the body from overheating by producing sweat and constricting blood vessels in cold temperatures.
  • Sensation: The skin is the organ for feeling. There are millions of nerves on the skin that enable a response to touch, heat, and other triggers.
  • Production of vitamin D: In the presence of sunlight, the skin converts a precursor of vitamin D into effective vitamin D. 
  • Immune defense: The skin gives an immune response as specialized cells in the skin identify and eliminate environmental threats.

Most Common Skin Issues: Descriptions, Causes, and Symptoms

Sun Spots

Sunspots are hyperpigmented areas on the skin, mostly seen in sun-exposed areas, which are the face, arms, hands, neck, shoulders, and chest region. These spots are identified as flat dark patches on the skin that are larger than freckles. They are smooth and appear without pain or itching.

Sunspots are caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sunlight, which triggers the melanin cells to go into overdrive, as they produce the pigment in several areas in patches. 

Sunspots are susceptible in people with fairer skin, relatives with sun spots, older persons, and people who use tanning beds. Although sunspots are symptom-free, if there is any history of bleeding, itching, or pain, visit a dermatologist. 

Fine Lines & Wrinkles

Fine lines and wrinkles are creases on the skin that are mostly signs of aging but can be seen earlier due to external factors. These creases are more visible around the eyes, mouth, and forehead. While fine lines are miniature grooves that may not be noticed, wrinkles are deeper and are more obvious with an increase in age. 

Fine lines and wrinkles are caused by external factors, which include prolonged ultraviolet ray exposure, repetitive facial expressions, and age advancement. Lifestyle activities like smoking, dehydration, poor sleeping habits, and poor diet also play a role.

Ordinarily, fine lines and wrinkles do not have symptoms. However, they can be accompanied by less moisture in the skin, uneven skin tone, and reduced skin volume on the face.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is a skin concern that is identified by a non-uniform texture, improper removal of dead skin cells, weak skin barrier function, and heightened skin sensitivity. 

In some cases, dry skin might be your body's response to physiological activities, while in others, it might be caused by concerning factors. 

Some common causes of dry skin include the following:

  • Cold, dry air and low humidity temperatures
  • Harsh soaps and detergents
  • Hot showers and baths
  • Low water intake
  • Chronological advancement in age

Dry skin might be accompanied by increased itching, discomfort, and heightened sensitivity (tingling, a burning sensation, or redness). 


Hyperpigmentation is a spectrum of darkened spots on the skin amidst the normal skin tone. The spectrum ranges from freckles, sun spots, and melasma.

The following can cause hyperpigmentation:

  • Unpatterned hormonal changes
  • Prolonged exposure to sunlight
  • Increased melanin production

General Care Tips for Common Skin Issues

Sun Protection

Sun protection entails applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher when the sun is up and even on cloudy days. You could reapply this protection after every two hours, especially after sweating or swimming.

The best formula depends on your skin type. Choose lightweight sunscreen creams for oily skin and thicker creams for dry skin.  

Proper Cleansing

Use a gentle cleanser that is suitable for your skin type. More specifically, use foaming cleansers for oily skin, creamy cleansers for dry skin, and fragrance-free or hypoallergenic cleansers for sensitive skin. Avoid harsh soaps and towels as they might trigger certain reactions.


Exfoliation means removing the layer of dead skin cells using scrubs or chemical exfoliants. It is efficient in clearing dead skin cells and revealing a brighter skin surface, but you should do it moderately. 


Hydration is necessary for healthy skin and should be applied by all skin types. Lightweight moisturizers can be used for oily skin, while you can use thicker ones for dry skin. Although the ingredients are at your discretion, consider the hydrating properties of hyaluronic acid, ceramides, and glycerin. Try to do this consistently after cleansing and toning the skin when it is damp to trap moisture. 


Develop a consistent skincare routine according to your skin type and watch your skin age gracefully. Regimens work with patience. Give your skin time to adapt to the new care routine and change from within. 

Professional Treatments and When to Seek Help

Consistent personal skin care is efficient for treating common skin concerns, and professional treatments are just as good and recommended, especially when you notice the following signs:

  • Persistent skin issues despite treatment
  • Abrupt changes in your skin with or without any obvious origin
  • Complications from skin conditions that affect the standard of living, like pain

Professional treatment might require breaking the surface barrier to repair the skin (invasive) or repairing the skin without breaking through the skin barrier (non-invasive). Despite the difference, both treatment methods are effective in giving the required results.

Non-invasive skin treatments include chemical peels, micro-needling, facials, laser treatment, and light therapy. Invasive skin treatments include dermabrasion, botox, fillers, and surgical procedures.


The skin is the most superficial organ of the body, guarding the body functionally and structurally. So you should maintain a proper skincare routine to enable your skin to function properly, reduce the appearance of age, and make you look and feel your best. However, skin issues can still occur. 

External factors can cause skin issues, but they are usually without symptoms. However, they can usually be resolved with proper care. In essence, you can prevent and treat skin conditions if you take care of your skin properly and exercise due attention and discretion.


  1. Bedford, Lisa. NCBI, 25 July 2023, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK558955/. 
  2. Cousins, Sian et al. BMJ open vol. 9,7 e028576. 30 Jul. 2019, doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-028576
  3. Desai, Seemal R. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 7,8 (2014): 13-7.
  4. Grajqevci-Kotori, Merita, and Allma Kocinaj. Medical archives (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina) vol. 69,6 (2015): 414-6. doi:10.5455/medarh.2015.69.414-416
  5. Manríquez, Juan Jorge et al. BMJ clinical evidence vol. 2014 1711. 22 Dec. 2014
  6. Rowe, Chelsea. NCBI, 2022, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470464/.
  7. Soleymani, Teo et al. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 11,8 (2018): 21-28.
  8. Walker, Kendra. NCBI, 2023, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK482440/.