The sun has a number of effects on the skin. This is directly related to the individual’s skin type and the degree of sun exposure over the years. Typically, we see areas of irregular brown and red pigment. The skin can become thicker or crepey and lose it’s elasticity. We see more lines and wrinkles in the affected skin because there is loss of collagen and elastin.
Treatment Options for Sun Damaged Skin
- Sunscreen is number one on this list. It is true that a lot of the sun damage we see now was due to exposure many years ago, however we just need to stop this process and prevent further damage.
- Topical Vitamin A at night. The correct form and strength of vitamin A cream applied at night can help stimulate collagen, reduce fine lines as well as pigment. It’s best to get some advise about the most suitable product for you.
- Topical Alpha Hydroxy Acids. In the form of a cleanser or cream, these products can help remove dead skin cells and unblock superficial glands. This can give the skin a clearer appearance.
- Light based therapies such as laser and IPL. These therapies target pigment in the skin, heating and destroying it. Laser will focus on one colour and IPL will treat a variety of colours such as brown and red pigment as well as reducing sebaceous glands and pores.
- Photodynamic Therapy (PDT). This can be a focused treatment for a specific skin cancer or a “field” treatment where the face or another area of the body is treated as a whole. A non-toxic photosensitising chemical is applied to the skin and selectively absorbed by damaged cells. When light is applied, the damaged cells are destroyed and normal cells are unaffected.
- Cytotoxic topical creams. These creams are prescribed by the dermatologist and applied for a number of weeks. They work by destroying precancerous and cancerous cells with minimal effect on normal cells. The side effects can be quite florid.
- Collagen Stimulating Treatments. There are many treatments available that can stimulate collagen production and therefore treat sun damage. At Shine we do this with a fractionated radio frequency device called the Sublative RF. This can also be achieved with a course of Platelet Rich Therapy ( PRP ) sessions, especially if combined with the Dermastamp for maximum collagen stimulation.
Sometimes it can be a little confusing to know which treatments are best for you. Obviously, sunscreen is for everyone and most people should also be using a topical vitamin A product and a cream containing alpha hydroxy acids everyday.
IPL skin rejuvenation is also a treatment that gives great results for most people with sun damaged lighter skin. The face looks so much younger if brown and red pigment can be reduced and skin colour is more even.
All skin is different and not all treatments are suitable for everyone. There can be adverse outcomes in inexperienced hands. This is where you do need professional advice from an experienced cosmetic doctor, nurse or dermal therapist. In a cosmetic medical clinic, the most appropriate treatments can be recommended and, most importantly, performed safely.