Top 5 Ways to Repair Summer Sun Damage
One of the most common questions from patients after summer months are over is “How can I repair all the damage I may have done from sun exposure?” This happens to even the best of us – we try to stay in the shade, use sunscreen and wear a hat. But nonetheless, the sun penetrates our defenses and we are left with freckles, pigmentation, melasma, or (worst case scenario) abnormal moles and skin cancer. Other than getting a complete skin check to rule out any abnormal moles or skin cancer, follow these steps to improve your sun-damaged skin:
1. Skin-care: Sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher should be used daily. Just because summer is over, doesn’t mean that you aren’t exposed to harmful UV rays. Furthermore, the type of UV that caused wrinkles and hyperpigmentation is not always filtered by windows. Moisturizer is also an important aspect of daily skin-care routine. As is a gentle cleanser. I tell my patients that using these products is like brushing your teeth – you just do it every day.
2. Retinol and retinoids can help repair some of the sun-damaged skin. These products promote normal development of skin cells, and can improve the overall appearance of the skin, as well as wrinkles/lines and pigmentation/melisma to a certain degree.
3. Clear and Brilliant laser can help skin cells turn over more rapidly, producing sloughing of damaged cells and growth of new, healthy, better appearing skin. I call this a lunch-time laser, since it’s virtually painless and has minimal downtime.
4. Microneedling with platelet rich plasma (PRP) helps to promote turn over of skin cells, stimulate collagen and improve the overall appearance of skin. The stem cells and growth factors found in PRP have been knows to give skin a particular glow, and promote healthy, beautiful appearing skin. This procedure is virtually painless (all patients receive an anesthetic) and has minimal downtime, with redness lasting about 24 hours.
5. Fraxel Dual is a laser resurfacing procedure that can help stimulate collagen growth, improve pigmentation and melasma, as well as wrinkles and acne scarring. This procedure is performed after application of a topical anesthetic and is virtually painless when done correctly. After the procedure the patients are usually red and the redness may last about 3 days (so plan on some down time). After the redness subsides, the skin will slowly peel, unmaking healthy, beautiful skin.
With these 5 simple steps, you can repair your skin after a long summer of sun exposure. But of course, prevention is most important. So let’s try to do better next summer!
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Reviewed by Dr. Goldenberg