Thursday, 10 December 2015 21:56

Sun Damaged Skin Treatments

Written by   Jeff Birchall, M.D., owner and medical director of Dermacare Laser & Skin Care Clinic of Rancho Bernardo and Carlsbad

There is a common misconception that sun damage only occurs during the summer. The reality is that sun damage transpires all year long and leaves clients with less than envious skin.

The ideal scenario is for clients to adequately use sunscreen and protect their skin from the sun to the best of their ability. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. When it is too late for prevention and the sun has already left its mark, there are wonderful, professional treatments that can greatly improve even the most drastic skin damage.

Dull Skin
Nobody likes dull, lifeless-looking skin, but this is unfortunately a direct effect of too much time in the sun. The sun dries out the skin, inhibiting the exfoliation process. As a result, the outer layer of skin becomes thicker and irregular. The best, non-medical treatments to combat dull skin are chemical peels and microdermabrasion, which will help exfoliate the skin on a deeper level, leaving it feeling smooth with a healthy glow. Skin care professionals can perform microdermabrasion and medium-level peels, but for more intensive results, clients should be advised to be treated by a doctor with Genesis, Fraxel, or C02 lasers. These medical treatments will restore natural glow and regularity to once irregular, lackluster skin.

Increased Red Coloration and Brown Spots
Excessive sun exposure causes inflammation, which increases blood to the surface of the skin, exacerbating rosacea and increasing skin vascularity, resulting in red spots. Brown spots are worsened when melanocytes are overstimulated by the sun. To combat these skin discoloration issues, there are different methods that can be taken by professionals and doctors. For increased red coloration, professionals can recommend topical treatments, while for brown spots they can perform chemical peels. Depending on different state regulations, some skin care professionals may need to perform more intensive chemical peels under doctor supervision. However, lasers are often the best route of treatment to combat both increased red coloration and brown spots. IPL and Genesis laser treatments, performed by a doctor, can help penetrate the skin on a deeper level. If the client has extensive damage or melasma, a Fraxel or CO2 laser should be used.

Wrinkles are often the most common reason clients seek treatment, especially when years of not protecting their skin from the sun comes back to haunt them in the form of these deep facial lines. Energy from the sun produces free radicals in the skin, which then damages the collagen. This lessens the structural integrity of the skin, leading to skin breakdown, thinning, and eventually, wrinkles. To combat the collagen loss that causes wrinkles, professionals can do peels or recommend topical treatments. On the medical side, injectables and lasers are the way to go. Genesis, Fraxel, and CO2 lasers work best for wrinkles and Botox is the go-to injectable.

Both skin care professionals and doctors have a variety of ways to treat sun-damaged skin. Knowing the needs of the client, especially the severity of their damage, is key to providing them with the best possible treatment. As a general rule, professionals must stick to topical treatments, microdermabrasion, and light chemical peels, whereas lasers, fillers, and injectables can only be issued by a doctor.

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