Few would underestimate the value of the sun in our lives. It’s rays provide our bodies with natural Vitamin D and nourish the plants that provide food and generate oxygen. Also, exposure to sunlight actually makes us happier and decreases the incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
However, many underestimate the down side to the sun’s powerful UV rays: it’s damaging effects on our skin. From our discussions in previous blogs, you now know that in fact, over exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UVB) rays, which seems to becoming stronger every year, can often result in burns and even lead to serious skin cancers such as melanoma. Furthermore, over 90% of the fine lines, wrinkles and brown spots that appear over time and make us look older than we feel, are caused by the sun’s UVA rays. So, protecting yourself from these rays by wearing a sunscreen of SPF 30 or higher every day is a must.
But, what can you do to eliminate the sun damage that you already have?
Well, a lot. As a cosmetic physician, I’ve devoted my career to exploring and training in non-surgical options to “turn back the clock”. And since skin aging and sun damage are so closely related, reversing the adverse effects of the sun’s rays has become a large focus of my practice. From more basic to advanced, here are a few of the options available in my Ottawa clinic:
- Exfoliate: Removing the dead, outermost layer of skin cells is one of the quickest ways to diminish fine lines, wrinkles and brown spots. There are a number of options in varying degrees of intensity. The simplest is to start using a skin care product such as SkinMedica’s 15% AHA/BHA cream, SkinMedica Lyrica or Retinol. If your sun damage is more severe, I may recommend a series of chemical peels.
- Erase Brown Spots with IPL: As you age, particularly if your skin is fair, you’re going to see brown spots anywhere that your skin has been exposed to the sun. A very effective way to eliminate these is with an Intense Pulse Light (IPL) treatment. We also refer to this treatment as Foto-Facial. Depending on your individual needs, I may suggest that you combine your IPL treatment with microdermabrasion as the latter can improve the light’s ability to penetrate the skin and improve the overall efficacy of the IPL treatment by 40%.
- Laser Resurfacing for Deep Lines and Wrinkles: If you have deeper lines, wrinkles and age spots from years of accumulated sun damage, don’t despair. The Fraxel 1927/1550 laser is a game changer, able to combat both small and large brown lesions while also significantly reducing deep wrinkles, lines, large pores and scars with little down time. In only a few sessions, Fraxel can rejuvenate your skin, removing age spots from your face, neck, chest and hands.