Summer is coming to an end, and I begin to notice the effect of continuous sun exposure on some of my patients’ skin. Most individuals are aware of the damage that chronic sun exposure can cause to their skin and it is now a common practice to apply sun block before going to the beach or while enjoying outdoor activities.
However, did you know that most of skin sun damage occurs by the age of 20?
Contrary to popular belief, babies are not born with freckles. Freckles are a sign of sun exposure. In a previous blog, we presented an article titled “ Is The Sun Really That Bad? “ where we discussed the effects of the UV light to the skin and measures we can take to avoid or delay the short and long term complications of chronic sun exposure. Click here for article: http://www.tawcenter.com/is-the-sun-really-that-bad.
Sunlight is required for the synthesis of Vitamin D in the skin. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption in the bowels and maintains adequate blood levels of calcium and phosphate. Vitamin D is an important vitamin needed for bone growth and bone remodeling. Despite the health benefits, overexposure of ultraviolet radiation can cause premature aging of the skin (also known as photo-aging). Common signs of premature aging are lines, wrinkles, brown or red spots, broken capillaries, leathery skin, and dry and rough skin. Over time, some individuals can develop pre-cancerous lesions or even serious types of cancer such as melanoma.
Chronic UV light radiation increases production of free radicals in the skin causing damage to DNA, and inflammation of the collagen and other proteins that provide the elasticity and toning of the skin.
Depending on each individual’s skin type, some people may tend to burn or tan after being exposed directly or indirectly to the sunlight. These two skin reactions are manifestations of overexposure to the UV radiation. People with the greatest risk for complications related to chronic sun exposure are: red or blond hair; light blue, green or gray eyes; pale skin tone; and those with a history of sunburn. Dark-skinned individuals or those who tan profusely may have a lower incidence of skin cancer, however, they may show signs of photo-aging due to chronic sun damaged skin.
In this article, I will be discussing a few home treatments and medical cosmetic procedures that can help reverse the effects of sun damage to the skin.
1. Start your own skin healing process
• Sun block: a broad spectrum sunblock that reduces UVA and UVB exposure is the number one anti-aging and skin protector agent that can reverse sun damage by 90%. Select a sunblock product with the right SPF for your skin type. For people with lighter skin, a sunblock with a minimum SPF of 30 is recommended and for darker skin a minimum SPF of 15.
Remember to apply it at least 30 minutes before going outdoors. It will provide enough time for your skin to absorb it and offer better protection. For more information about selecting the right type of sun block click here: http://www.tawcenter.com/sunscreen-vs-sunblock.
Remember, to obtain the most benefits from a sunblock, it is necessary to apply it year-round and not only during the summer months. Keep in mind that you need to protect your whole body, not just your face.
• Exfoliate Your skin: Removing dead cells from top layers of the skin will allow the growth of new cells. This process is known as cell turnover. When the skin has been injured by the UV light, it damages the DNA and the rate of skin cell renewal. Applying topical agents such as retinoids, enzyme masks, vitamin C, and glycolic acid serums will help remove dead cells, increasing the rate of cell turnover, and the new skin will have an even tone and look. For more information about benefits of skin exfoliation, click here: http://www.tawcenter.com/exfoliation-how-often-is-to-often.
• Bleaching or skin lightening creams: Hydroquinone and Kojic acid are products that help decrease the amount of melanin (pigment that provides color to the skin). It lightens brown and dark spots. However, these products do not help to remove the signs of photo-aging . They will temporary even out your skin complexion. For individuals who apply this type of product on a regular basis, they may notice a permanent discoloration of the skin known as “Exogenous ochronosis ”. We recommend this product to be used for a limited time and under physician supervision.
• Hydration. Fifty five to seventy five percent of the human body is composed of water and the skin is the largest organ of the body. Make sure to drink enough non-caloric fluids, especially during the summer months. The skin is an active organ; through perspiration, the body eliminates toxins.
• Nourish your body: Our skin requires important nutrients. Be sure to include colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet and take a good quality multivitamins and anti-oxidants. These types of foods contain phyto-chemicals which have been found to improve the health and appearance of your skin.
2. Medical cosmetic treatments to reduce signs of sun damage
• Chemical peels: Chemical peels have been used for centuries to remove dead skin cells from the top layers of skin. Chemical peels also promote cell turnover, which improves the skin tone, removes fine lines and wrinkles and promote collagen rebuilding.
There are different types of chemical peels based on their chemical structure and rate of penetration. Most chemical peels should be applied by an experienced and licensed skin professional. The selection of the most appropriate chemical peel will depend on the skin type and signs of photo-aging. Check our article on chemical peels: http://www.tawcenter.com/the-truth-about-chemical-peels.
• Light medical devices: Lasers and IPLs are excellent alternatives to remove a significant amount of sun damage from the skin. There are several types of lasers: ablative, fractional and non-ablative. Depending on the type of laser it can treat photo-aging or provide a complete rejuvenation of the skin. However, these treatments may require a longer and more intense recovery time.
• IPL’S (Intense Pulsed Light) also known as PhotoRejuvenation, can improve skin texture, sun spots, redness, veins and uneven pigmentation. There is no downtime. Three to five treatments may be necessary to obtain excellent results.
It is never too late to start taking good care of your skin. If you do not know where to start, make an appointment with a licensed skin care specialist who understands and effectively treats sun damaged skin.
The Aesthetic & Wellness Center offers medical cosmetic treatments that effectively treat sun damaged skin. Give us a call us today for an appointment.
The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The Aesthetic & Wellness Center is not responsible or liable for any advice, course of treatment, diagnosis or any other information, services or products that you obtain through this site. After reading articles, watching videos or reading other content from this website, you are encouraged to review the information carefully with your professional healthcare provider or skin care specialist.