Did you move a long way from home to warm yourself in the endless summers of Austin, Texas? As Austinites, sunshine is a big part of who we are along with live music, festivals and a healthy lifestyle. However, as with many things, too much of a good thing is simply too much. Sun damage results in wrinkles, dark spots, freckles and leathery skin. Yuck! If you have already overindulged, I want to help.
Avid sun-worshipper, forgetful sunscreen applier, tanning beds enthusiast…life is too short to regret what is already done. Instead of regret – change! There are two things I would ask you to do today 1) promise to take better care of your skin in the future and 2) read on! It is never too late to reverse the signs of sun damaged skin.
- Sun Protection
Even if your skin has started to show signs of sun damage, adopting a daily sun protection regimen will help. Some skin damage such as freckles can lighten without continued exposure to the sun. More importantly, sunscreen helps to prevent wrinkles, leathery skin and dark spots. How? The ultraviolet light is sunlight damages fibers in our skin called elastin. Without elastin, skin will sag, stretch and lose its ability to bounce back into place. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen (one that blocks both UVA and UVB rays) with SPF 15 or higher. Limit your exposure to the sun, especially during the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are the most intense. Please make sure to use the appropriate amount of sunscreen and reapply throughout the day. How many times? If you are sitting at a desk all day in a cool, dry environment – I say your 8am application should last until 5pm. Reapply before you take that long drive home. If you are swimming or sweating outside, try to reapply every hour.
Now is the perfect time for a chemical peel. With summer in our rearview mirror it is time to strip away the effects of the sun. Chemical peels are wonderful for those of you that want a gentle approach. I know what you are thinking (who didn’t see that episode of Sex in the City)! Chemical peels of today are nothing like the red, scaly mess of yesterday. In fact, depending on the strength, there can be very little redness or downtime at all. Chemical peels are a topical exfoliant that uses an acidic solution to remove layers of rough, dry, hyperpigmented skin. Your skin will look smoother with fewer lines. I recommend a series of chemical peels monthly for the best results.
I hear a lot of people say “I love my freckles”. Good for you, but I would make sure they are freckles first before you fall in love. If you didn’t have freckles when you were younger and now you have dark spots on your skin, it is most likely sun damage. I want to be perfectly honest, dark spots do not make you look more youthful…they age you. Here is the good news…it is easier today to remove freckles, dark spots and hyperpigmented skin than ever before. IPL Photofacial is a procedure in which intense pulses of light are used to penetrate deep into the skin. IPL treats superficial vascular and pigmented lesions like rosacea, spider veins, skin imperfections caused by sun damage, red and brown spots. This is one of my favorite treatments. There is absolutely no downtime. However, you will see darkening of the existing spots, but within a week these areas will flake off. I recommend a series of 5 IPL Photofacial treatments.
Sun damage is the #1 cause of wrinkling, sagging skin. It may take years to begin to see the damage you have inflicted upon yourself with your endless hours baking in the sun, but I promise it will come! As I said earlier, ultraviolet light in sunshine breaks down elastin in skin and elastin is what holds up our skin. There is really no way around it except diligent use of sun protection. Until recently, skin resurfacing was could only be effectively done using fractional laser procedures (CO2, erbium lasers, Fraxel). Fractional procedures remove several layers of skin requiring anywhere from 2 – 4 weeks of recovery! In 2015, Nanofractional RF was approved for the treatment of scarring, wrinkles, stretch marks, skin texture and pigmentation, rosacea and acne scarring. NanoFractional Radio Frequency delivers energy through the epidermis to the dermis, generating heat, stimulating fibroblast and rebuilding collagen. I know that is a lot to digest. What you need to know is NanoFractional RF is approved for deep lines & wrinkles, there is no downtime (redness can occur for 3-5 days) and the treatment time is approximately 15 minutes. I recommend 3 – 6 treatments on a monthly basis.
Remember no regrets, but if you are abusing the sun it is time to change. Already seeing the effects of too much sun consider one of my top four treatments to prevent sun damage, improve skin texture, remove dark spots and soften wrinkles.
Be Radiant Austin!