Sun damage, photoaging, photodamage, solar damage. They’re all terms for what occurs when excessive sun exposure prematurely ages the skin. The fact is that 90% of visible signs of aging are due to sun damage. Signs of sun damage include:
- Spots of darker pigmentation
- Fine to medium wrinkles
- Sagging Skin
- Rough, uneven skin texture
- Redness and blotchiness
Those flat spots of brown that some call “sun spots” or “liver spots” are solar lentigines (len-TIJ-ih-neez). They are usually tan, brown, or dark brown and oval to round in shape. Solar lentigines usually appear on areas most exposed to the sun. They are often more pronounced on the left side of the face from sun exposure while driving.
Excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays breaks down collagen and elastin, the connective tissue in the skin. This causes the skin to lose its elastic quality. With enough breakdown, skin becomes thickened skin with deep wrinkles that don’t disappear with stretching.
Preventing Sun Damage
It’s never too late to practice good sun protection to prevent future photodamage. It’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that shields skin from both UVA and UVB rays with sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. It’s also important to use mineral-based sunscreen.
Mineral-based sunscreens provide a physical barrier between your skin and the sun’s rays. Think of millions of tiny mirrors resting on the surface of your skin, bouncing away harmful UV rays. More importantly, only two of the 16 active ingredients commonly used in sunscreens, the mineral sunblocks, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are “generally recognized as safe and effective.”
Treating Sun Damage
While prevention is key, sun damage can be treated. The number of treatments needed and results that can be expected depend on the extent of sun damage, age, genetics, and lifestyle. Medical spa treatments include skin resurfacing, microneedling, and chemical peels.
Skin resurfacing is one of the most effective corrective procedures available. Laser skin resurfacing and radiofrequency skin resurfacing targets uneven pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles, and loose skin.
LaseMD is a fractional non-ablative laser that effectively treats fine lines, wrinkles, skin texture, large pores, uneven skin color, melasma, dark spots from sun damage, active acne, and some forms of scars while tightening skin. Unlike other lasers, LaseMD is safe for all skin types and colors and is safe to use on tanned skin.
The Venus Viva is a nano fractional radiofrequency skin resurfacing treatment that delivers great results for photodamaged skin. It effectively treats wrinkles, discoloration, and scarring while tightening skin. Venus Viva is effective for all skin types and tones, including dark tones and sensitive skin.
Chemical peels can be used to treat everything from acne to wrinkles. They work by using a blend of acids to chemically exfoliate the skin. In the days following the peel, dead skin cells will begin to flake off, leaving behind a smoother and brighter complexion.
Microneedling is a minimally invasive treatment that targets loose skin, uneven skin texture, and hyperpigmentation. During treatment fine needles create micro-punctures in the skin. This stimulates collagen production and improves skin health.
Your Home Skin Care Regime
Look for these ingredients in your home skin care regime:
- Niacinamide: An antioxidant that decreases melanin production and can help prevent hyperpigmentation to an extent. It also helps improves elasticity over time.
- Retinoids: Vitamin A derivatives that stimulate cell turnover to lighten hyperpigmentation, decrease the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and improve texture irregularities.
- Vitamin C: A super antioxidant that neutralizes free radicals, helping to prevent damage to an extent before it even occurs. Vitamin C also helps repair connective tissue and stimulate new collagen production.
Which Treatment is Best?
Determining which treatment is best really requires an in-person consultation. During your consultation your medical history and skin condition assessed. We’ll educate you about your options so you can make an informed decision. Our consultations are always complementary. Call or text (602) 899-7462 to make an appointment.