Tuesday, 06 May 2014 10:32

Options for Sun Damaged Skin

Written by   Fredric S. Brandt, M.D.

I would rather not have to write about solutions for sun damaged skin. Ideally, the topic would be obsolete; every client would prioritize sun protection as much as they do brushing their teeth and using deodorant. But they do not. Or they do, but they did not always, and now they are paying the price for their youthful sun sins.
As a dermatologist based in Miami, I have seen my fair share of sun damaged skin. Eighty percent of wrinkles are caused by sun damage alone, and credit for brown spots and other discoloration can go almost entirely to the sun, too. Then there is the risk of skin cancer. But no one is perfect and sun damage happens.

So what do you do when you find your clients have overdone it? Fortunately, there are a number of effective products and treatments you can use that are designed to specifically target photo-aging.

Fractional Lasers
Today's fractional lasers can do wonders when it comes to helping skin recover from the effects of the sun. At my practice, they are considered the gold standard for versatile, effective skin rejuvenation. They can improve skin that is simply tired and dehydrated after summer, as well as skin that is wrinkled, spotted, and sagging from years of exposure. Fractional laser treatments work at the superficial level to target damaged and discolored skin cells, which are replaced by fresh, healthy cells. They also penetrate deep into the skin to stimulate collagen remodeling and the formation of new collagen. This can improve laxity, wrinkles, and even scarring.
Instead of vaporizing the outer layers of skin like traditional ablative lasers, nonablative fractional lasers penetrate the skin through a series of microchannels, each surrounded by healthy, untouched skin. This allows for a shorter, more tolerable recovery. There are miniature fractional treatments which produce only minor, temporary redness and invisible, microscopic peeling. Then there are full fractional treatments – ideal for those with accumulated sun damage. These may cause skin to be red for several days after treatment, then flaky for several days to a week. In either case, this is a vast improvement over the oozing, raw skin and weeks of recovery after full ablative laser treatments. Fractional lasers are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cleared for the treatment of pigmentation and even pre-cancerous lesions. This allows for the ability to correct or vastly improve all types of sun damage.

It seems counterintuitive to correct photo-aging with intense light, but light therapy is an effective, gentle option for correcting sun damage and early signs of aging. Also called a photofacial or intense pulsed light (IPL) treatment, this therapy is safe for skin of all colors and types, and can be great for overall skin renewal.

The machine delivers pulses of light that penetrate the skin to:

  • Break down pigment in age spots and freckles
  • Tone down redness or blotchiness
  • Stimulate collagen production for improved skin texture

Phototherapy treatments are very gentle. Results are not as dramatic as those created by the fractionated lasers; however, for many people, a series of milder treatments and gradual improvement is preferable.

Oxygen Rejuvenation Therapy
This could become one of your practice's "signature" treatments. While the stars rely on this luxurious facial to get their skin ready for the red carpet, it is equally apropos for those who want to renew their skin's glow after too much sun and fun.
A specially prepared cocktail of vitamins, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acids are infused into the skin with the help of hyperbaric oxygen. This facilitates deep hydration and an instant lifted, refreshed appearance. This treatment is perfect for skin that has become dull and dehydrated from overexposure to the elements.

Healthy Skin is Beautiful Skin
These are just a few of my favorite treatments for post-sun skin care. They are very effective for repairing damage – recent or longstanding – or nourishing skin that is tired or depleted. I love to see the improvements that these treatments can make in a person's complexion. I know you will too. Often they can take years off of a client's perceived age by restoring the smooth texture and even coloration we associate with youth.
Remember that, no matter what skin modalities you use, it is important to urge your clients to maintain their results with religious sun protection, a nutritious diet, and plenty of exercise, because health is the most important beauty secret.


Fredric-Brandt-2014For over 20 years, Dr. Fredric Brandt has been revolutionizing the field of cosmetic dermatology. This innovative physician and researcher is highly regarded for making patients look younger and more attractive. Also an accomplished author, Dr. Brandt penned a top-selling book, 10 Minutes 10 Years Your Definitive Guide to a Beautiful and Youthful Appearance. drfredricbrandt.com

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