Sun Damage + Treatment
Are you seeing more “smile lines” on your face? Maybe a darker spot or two lurking here or there? If so, it may be sun damage. Also known as photoaging, that bright yellow thing in the sky is the likely culprit. Fear not—a chemical peel may be able to remedy the sun-damaged skin!
Whether you get a sunburn or not, sun exposure can prematurely age the skin. Photoaging can increase the appearance of lines on your face, cause dark spots, and reduce the elasticity of the skin. Those most at risk for sun damage include fair-skinned people who sunburn easily, but the sun can damage any skin tone, even dark or Black skin.
Sun exposure and tanning beds can be dangerous, as the ultraviolet (UV) light they emit is linked to skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, one in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the time they turn 70. This is because UV light can trigger DNA damage, which can lead to skin cell mutation and malignant cell formation.
Mild and Effective Chemical Peels
What can you do to reverse the effects of photoaging? One medical cosmetic procedure that can help your skin regenerate new cells is a chemical peel. Chemical peels are among several treatments available for sun-damaged skin. Other options include topical medications and lasers, but chemical peels are an easy, effective, and affordable approach to treating sun damage.
A chemical peel removes old layers of skin, which can reduce the appearance of sun damage and superficial lines. The process includes cleaning the skin and applying a mild acid. The chemical is on the skin for several minutes, at which time, it can cause a burning sensation. The peel will likely cause redness, scaling, and some swelling. Following the peel, you will want to avoid the sun for several weeks in order to protect the skin as it heals and grows new skin cells.
Here at Infinity Medical Clinic, we provide glycolic acid chemical peels that provide consistent results for all skin types. Patients who receive these chemical peels can see the difference in their skin’s texture and tone. Fine lines are reduced, and the skin can regenerate and look younger and more elastic.
For the best results. Dr. Stemmerman recommends a series of three to four chemical peels spaced two to four weeks apart. During that time and for several weeks, you will need to wear a hat and use other protection against the sun. Dr. Stemmerman will also ask you about the medications you take, including supplements. Some medications should be stopped prior to the chemical peel procedure.
How to Avoid Photoaging
Sun damage can occur with even mild sunburns. To avoid sunburn, remember to apply sunscreen before you spend time outdoors. The sun’s rays are strongest from 10 AM to 4 PM, so be sure you and your family are wearing hats and sunscreen during those hours. If you spend time in or near the water, increase your use of sunscreen and make sure to reapply it frequently. Many daily moisturizers contain sunscreen, so look for that to help protect the skin on your face.
If your skin is sensitive to the ingredients in sunscreen, stay in the shade or wear light layers over arms and legs in addition to your hat and sunglasses. This will block the sun from hitting your skin directly and reduce your need for sunscreen lotion.
Did you know? You can get a sunburn on a cloudy day! Up to 80 percent of the sun’s UV rays still penetrate through clouds, so be sure to wear sun protection even when it’s cloudy. Learn more about sun protection.
Dr. Stemmerman provides several other medical cosmetic procedures to help improve the appearance of your skin. She can guide you in determining if dermal fillers, sclerotherapy, Botox, and non-surgical skin lifts are right for you. As your first step in improving your appearance, contact Infinity Medical Clinic to learn more about safe and effective medical cosmetic options.