As the season changes and summer-time fades away, you probably will be spending more time indoors and less time outside. While it might have felt good to get out and soak up the sunshine this summer, hopefully, you were careful. If you passed on sunscreen in exchange for a golden glow, be aware that choice can show up as sun-damage on your skin later on.
Spending time outside without proper protection takes a severe toll on your skin. Even if you're only getting a little bit of sun exposure here and there, the damage caused by the sun adds up over time and can contribute to premature aging and skin cancer. Fortunately, it's never too late to start protecting your skin and try to improve some of the signs of sun damage. Keep reading to learn more.
WHAT IS SUN-DAMAGE?
Every time you go outside without proper protection, your skin is exposed to the sun's harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. These rays damage your skin, and over time, this damage builds up. As this occurs, you may begin to notice changes to your skin, including increasing aging signs. The medical term for these changes is called "photoaging."
According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, signs of photoaging include:
- Age spots
- Loose skin
- Spider veins
- Blotchy or ruddy complexion
You may also notice dry, scaly patches of skin called actinic keratoses (AKs). An AK often appears as a reddish spot and is a precancerous skin growth. Sometimes, an AK turns into a type of skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). This type of skin cancer often appears on skin areas that have gotten a lot of sun exposure. Most people discover they have SCC when they notice a spot, round lump or scaly patch on their skin getting more prominent, or it feels different from the rest of their skin. If you notice any changes to your skin, you must see a dermatologist as soon as possible.
PROTECTING YOUR SKIN IS ESSENTIAL
To protect your skin from sun damage, you should start now and take steps to protect your skin from the sun -- and not just in the summer! You still need to protect your skin when it gets colder outside as well.
One of the best ways to protect your skin year-round is by using the proper sunscreen for your skin type. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher that works on UVA and UVB rays. There are many choices available for sunscreens and sunblocks, so be sure to choose a sunscreen that is the best fit for you and your skin type. You can check out all of the sunscreen products we offer at the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC here.
Furthermore, it is imperative to wear protective clothing if you spend time outside in the sun. Cover up your arms and legs and wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to help protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays.
Finally, consider incorporating retinoids, antioxidants, vitamin C, sun protection and an anti-aging moisturizer into your skincare routine to give your skin a more youthful appearance and reduce skin cancer. You can view all of the anti-aging products we offer here.
TREATMENT CAN HELP IMPROVE YOUR SKIN'S APPEARANCE
While much of the sun's damage is permanent, which is why it is so important to start protecting your skin now, there are treatments available that can help correct some of the signs of damage. Dermatologists often use more than one treatment type to give you a more natural and healthy appearance.
SKIN CARE SOLUTIONS TO REVERSE SUN DAMAGE
The first way to reverse sun damage is to start with the right skin care routine at home. This includes effective medical-grade skincare products with the right cleanser, antioxidant, retinoid, bleaching products and sunblock. Our brightening system has prescription and non-prescription options to reduce photodamage, hyperpigmentation, to lighten the skin tone and improve skin texture. You can view the brightening solutions we offer here.
Vascular Laser Treatment
One treatment used to help improve the skin's appearance is Vascular Laser Treatment. Vascular laser treatment sends pulsed laser energy into blood vessels or pigmented areas. At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, we use the VBeam Perfecta®.
The VBeam Perfecta® is the gold standard and the world's best-selling pulsed dye laser. The laser system is a safe way to treat vascular, pigmented and specific non-pigmented lesions. This system yields excellent results with no damage to the surrounding skin.
Vascular laser treatments can treat a variety of skin conditions or lesions, including poikiloderma. Poikiloderma is most frequently seen on the chest or neck and is characterized by red pigmentation and is associated with sun damage.
Photodynamic Light Therapy
Photodynamic light therapy (PDT) is a non-invasive therapy that uses multiple light treatment sessions in conjunction with a photosensitizing agent. A photosensitizing agent is an inactive medication that only activates when exposed to ultraviolet radiation or sunlight.
Photodynamic light therapy can treat a variety of issues caused by sun damage, including:
- Actinic keratosis
- Basal cell carcinoma
- Squamous cell carcinoma
- Sun-damaged skin
Microdermabrasion is a 30-minute, minimally invasive treatment for the skin that promotes micro-circulation and oxygen production. It effectively boosts collagen, elastin, exfoliation and healthy skin.
At the Dermatology Center for Skin Health, PLLC, we use the DermaSweep cosmetic device. This is an affordable option for those who want to improve their overall skin health. Additionally, DermaSweep is combined with infusions, which allows us to tailor our patient's treatment options.
This procedure can help with:
- Fine lines
- Tone and texture
- Neck and décolleté
- Hands and arms
Chemical peels are procedures that entail a chemical solution to be applied to the skin, which exfoliates the skin and effectively improves the skin's appearance on your face, neck, chest or hands. The results are newer, healthier and brighter skin.
Chemical peels can be used to treat and help improve:
- Precancerous skin cells (actinic keratosis)
- Sun-damaged skin
- Skin rejuvenation
- Skin tone and texture
Dermal fillers are gel-like substances injected beneath the skin used to restore youthful volume in the face. Dermal fillers can help soften facial creases and wrinkles caused by sun damage. It's important to note that dermal fillers are temporary, and ongoing treatment is necessary for long-lasting results.
VISIT YOUR DERMATOLOGIST | DERMATOLOGY CENTER FOR SKIN HEALTH, PLLC
The effects of sun damage can be severe. You should always perform monthly skin checks and be sure to schedule an annual skin check with a dermatologist (or more frequently if you have a history of skin cancer or precancerous lesions).
If you're ready to make an appointment to discuss options for improving your skincare, or if you have any questions or concerns about sun damage, give us a call at (304) 598-3888 or click here. We're currently accepting new patients and encourage you to make your appointment soon. We look forward to hearing from you!