I grew up in the "Before" era. Before airbags, before nutrition labeling and before we were told excessive tanning was not healthy, even if it made us glow like Farrah Fawcett. It was the 1970s, the era of living dangerously. We rode in cars without seat belts, took bike rides without helmets and played outside for hours on end without sunscreen.
Things didn't change much in the 80s. As a teenager I would slather my body in baby oil and iodine and lay out all day in the sun... because being "tan" wasn't good enough. I wanted to be the most tan. The tannest. The queen of the tan. Tanny McTanface. Wow...who knew?
Sun Damage... now what?
The aesthetic signs of sun damage are unmistakable, from a dark spot here to a tan line there, all trophies of a day spent luxuriating in a bath of UV rays. When the damage is done and you're left with a hefty handful of dark spots or a painful burn, one question remains: now what? Sun damage isn't something that just happens to sun worshipers like me, even a few minutes of sun exposed to unprotected skin can cause problems. Sunburns can wreak havoc years after the initial burn, and unfortunately, the damage isn’t just skin deep. UV radiation alters the actual DNA of your skin cells, causing lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and even cancer. Ask me how I know and I will show you the sun spots on my face and chest, and the scars on my body from skin cancer removal surgeries.
Thankfully, it is never too late to get serious about taking care of your skin.
Can you really reverse sun damage?
Experts say that while you can’t entirely undo the cellular changes caused by UV radiation, you can heal skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sunspots, sagging skin, and Melasma. However, the results only last if you are strict about SPF and staying out of the sun going forward! If you are ready to get serious about your skin, there are several ways to regenerate and repair sun damage.
Topical Prescription Creams:
“Bar-none, Hydroquinone combined with tretinoin (Retin-A) is the most effective, aggressive skin care regimen for reversing sun damage,” says Michigan dermatologist Dr. Youn.
Topical prescription creams work by intensely exfoliating the upper layers of your skin to reduce sun spots and uneven pigmentation.
Medical microdermabrasion - Microdermabrasions are the key to younger looking skin, virtually polishing away effects of the sun and the signs of aging, not to mention fighting fine lines and acne. By delicately removing the outer skin layer, it brings out the beautiful, brand new you underneath to leave you looking radiant. Perfect for not only the face, it works wonders on the neck and upper chest too.
HydraFacialMD - The HydraFacial MD® resurfacing procedure is an incredible non-invasive treatment that utilizes award-winning, patented technology to detoxify, rejuvenate and protect your skin. It delivers immediate results & long-term benefits without downtime or irritation. It combines cleansing, exfoliation, extraction, hydration and antioxidant protection simultaneously, resulting in clearer, more beautiful skin with no discomfort or downtime. The treatment is soothing, moisturizing, non-invasive and non-irritating.
Chemical Peels - As we age, our natural skin refreshing process, where old, dead skin cells are replaced with new ones slows down. A chemical peel involves a solution of one or more exfoliating agents being applied to the skin to remove the rough, dead upper layer of skin and stimulate the rejuvenation of new skin cells. The result is taut, smooth skin that is relatively free of fine lines and blemishes such as age spots and uneven pigmentation. With several formulations, strengths and options, a chemical peel can transform your skin revealing an improvement in texture and tone, lessening of fine lines, diminishing acne and scarring, erasing sun damage, and producing a more supple youthful glow.
Laser & Light-based Treatments:
Photo Facials - The AFT PhotoFacial procedure is a top-of-the-line solution that corrects photo-aged skin and evens out tone and texture. The procedure attacks and gets rid of age spots, brown pigments, discoloration, and redness due to broken capillaries, and incorporates breakthrough innovations in medical beauty to improve the appearance of your skin. AFT PhotoFacial treatments deliver noticeably smoother, more youthful-looking skin over a series of treatment sessions. The procedure works by beaming light onto the surface of skin in short pulses to promote collagen production and rejuvenate skin from within. With multiple sessions spread over a treatment regimen, the laser pulses help to fade away spots, redness, pores, broken capillaries, rosacea signs and even under-eye circles.
Clearlift™ - ClearLift™ uses advanced laser technology and specially designed hand pieces to deeply heat and modify collagen bundles while stimulating the production of new elastic fibers and supportive elements within the skin. The ClearLift laser erases fine lines and wrinkles on the face, while firming and tightening delicate areas around the eyes & mouth, neck and chest. Clearlift treatments are painless with immediate visible results and no downtime.
Laser360 - Laser360 treatments support natural skin rejuvenation by augmenting new elastic fibers and remodeling collagen. When it comes to healthy, vibrant skin, collagen & elastin are two vital resources. Together they keep the skin looking youthful by giving volume, suppleness and structure. Laser360 treats fine lines, wrinkles, large pores, uneven texture, superficial pigmentation, sun damage, vascular redness and scars resulting in dramatically younger-looking skin.
Now that you know... protect your skin!
Science has come a long way since I was a kid. With the abundance of information available regarding prevention, it is essentially a cardinal beauty sin to forego sunscreen or spend a session baking your skin bronze in a tanning bed. Because at least one facet of sun damage is clear: Continued exposure to UV rays expedites the aging process. Although you can't completely turn back the clock and erase sun damage, there are definitely things you can do now that can help to heal your skin and your DNA, and put yourself on the road to recovery. But the results only last if you are strict about SPF and staying out of the sun going forward!
It's never too late (or too early) to protect your skin from the sun. These days I'm slathering on sunscreen instead of baby oil and iodine, I'm even thinking about buying myself a wide-brim hat.
Summer is coming darling, I suggest you do the same!
Does your skin have damage you want to undo?
Ask Cosmetic Laser Center how one of the treatments above could help get your beautiful, youthful skin back!