Preventing & Treating Sun Damaged Skin

Introduction

Summer is vastly approaching, and everyone wants to lay out on the beach and tan, but it’s important to properly protect your skin from all the damages the sun can cause. Yes, it makes trees grow and flowers bloom, but flora was designed for that purpose. On the other hand, our skin is not designed to withstand the effects of prolonged sun exposure, especially lighter skin tones. Your strong, resilient, and pliable collagen can be broken down by the sun and replaced with short, stubby, disorganized and defective elastin fibers. As a result, your dermis will thin out and lose its structure causing wrinkling and sagging.

Sun damage doesn’t happen overnight, but repeated exposure to UVA rays is one of the most prominent factors responsible for aging skin. Because UVA rays are capable of penetrating and breaking down collagen, it directly hinders the production of healthy elastin that is needed for skin to maintain its youth. It’s imperative to understand the kind of skin damage that is caused by sun exposure.

Here are some signs of sun damaged skin:

Dryness
Because the sun drains the moisture and natural oils that lubricate the skin, continuous sun exposure can leave your face looking very dehydrated and flaky.

Texture
Sun exposure can cause the skin to become thick because of collagen loss. Sun rays can also cause other texture irregularities, as well as skin cancer and pre-cancerous lesions.

Age Spots
The sun heightens the production of melanin which can cause age spots that are brown, black, and even gray. These spots usually appear on the forehead, temples, chest, shoulders, and hands.

Broken Capillaries
When the sun comes into contact with skin it can break down the structural walls of the small blood vessels in the face. This can result in red, broken capillaries and Rosacea, which will leave skin red, blotchy, and irritated.

Lines and Wrinkles
Fine lines and wrinkles have the potential to surface because of the breakdown of collagen and elastin. Deeper folds and wrinkles around the mouth are usually connected to years of sun exposure as well.

Ways to Prevent Sun Damage
If you love the outdoors there are some steps you can take to try to prevent sun damage. First and foremost, be disciplined about minimizing direct sun exposure whenever possible. But when you are going to be out and about, sun-block is a must! Use one with an SPF of at least 40 “broad spectrum”, so you’re protected from UVA and UVB rays. Please be mindful that all sun-block creams start to wear off between 4 to 5 hours of wear. In addition to sun-block, you should keep your skin well moisturized and hydrated.

These tips are most important during the summer months when you want to enjoy the warm weather as much as possible. Decide on a skin regimen that’s best for you and stick to it. You should be applying your products twice a day, once in the morning before leaving home, and mid-day because they wear off within 4 to 5 hours.

Treatment for sun damaged skin depends on:

• Age
• Health
• Medical history
• Severity of damage
• Type of skin damage
• Tolerance for specific medications and procedures
• Your preference

The natural process of aging is inevitable, as skin begins to thin out and lines and wrinkles appear. Moles, scars, and birthmarks can also change as we get older and sun damage over the course of a lifetime will worsen the aging skin. There are several anti-aging creams on the market, but sometimes the damage requires more attention.
Some treatment options are:

Fillers
Injectable fillers can help improve depressions, wrinkles, asymmetries, dark spots, and other results of sun damage. The treatment usually takes just 10 minutes to complete and involves the administration of a topical anesthetic followed by precise injection of the filler.

At Aventura Plastic Surgery our filler options include:

• Juvederm
• Voluma
• Botox

Laser Skin Resurfacing
Aventura Plastic Surgery offers a variety of laser skin resurfacing options that are excellent for treating sun damaged skin on the face and neck. Laser skin resurfacing uses high-energy light to burn away damaged skin. It has the ability to minimize wrinkles and fine scars. As technology has evolved, it has become more difficult for patients to understand their use and select the best option. During a FREE consultation, Dr. Galitz can explain the benefits of each and help you make the best choice.

Our laser skin resurfacing options include:

• Regular CO2 Laser
• Erbium Laser
• CO2 Fraxel Laser

Surgery
Most of the time sun damaged skin can be improved with non-surgical laser treatments and topical creams. For more severe damage, surgical treatments like a facelift, blepharoplasty, or brow lift may be recommended. These procedures can tighten skin, minimize wrinkling and sagging, and improve facial contours.

Skin Cancer & Reconstruction
If you have been affected by skin cancer MOHS Reconstruction is a great procedure to consider. It includes the reconstruction of the defects from removing skin cancers by MOHS excision. When occurring on highly visible areas like the nose, lips, and eyelids, a plastic surgeon can perform MOHS reconstruction to reconstruct any remaining defects.

Conclusion
Now that you know too much sun exposure is dangerous for your skin and you’ve been negligent with your sun protection you should commit to better habits now with summer coming up. If you’ve already experienced sun-damage give us a call at (305) 974 – 0505 to set up a free consultation to discuss your options.