The same warm sunlight that illuminates our world also has the power to reset time — accelerating the aging process by drying, coarsening and injuring the skin.
Invisible ultraviolet rays focus the sun’s destructive force onto every exposed surface, from back and arms to neck and face. Here, experienced Sacramento plastic surgeon Dr. Donald Hause reviews the risks of excessive sun exposure, and suggests several noninvasive cosmetic options for reversing the damage.
Dimming a Youthful Glow
Sun damage is cumulative, gathering force over many years. Unprotected exposure to the sun in our early years can be especially damaging. When a child’s fragile skin in sunburned, it suffers foundational damage that increases the chance of dry, leathery, wrinkled skin appearing earlier in life than would normally be expected.
From the teen years into our twenties, those cool George Hamilton summer tans may give us the perfect opportunity to boast about our vacations, but a tan is essentially your skin’s way of protecting itself from UV rays. The more you tan, the more damage is being done to dermal structures. The harm can be subtle at first, but at some point a smooth complexion begins to develop fine lines and wrinkles, and suddenly the mirror is no longer your constant admirer.
The best solution for the effects of sun damage is prevention. Wearing sunscreen and broad-brimmed hats, finding shade and avoiding too much exposure at times when the skin’s rays are the most intense will preserve your youthful look far into middle age, and beyond.
Once the damage has been done, Dr. Hause may recommend several noninvasive treatments that can repair your skin and dramatically improve your appearance. Microdermabrasion is one approach that has been used for decades. By “abrading” your skin, it triggers a healing response that promotes resurfacing and production of collagen, the natural protein that gives skin its firmness, flexibility and glow. Laser resurfacing uses this same principle, but with updated technology.
Laser skin resurfacing erases imperfections, softens fine lines and renews the skin. It has the added advantage of improving hyperpigmentation or discoloration caused by excessive exposure to the sun.
The instrument used is a fractional laser, a type of laser that disrupts a portion of cells while leaving others untouched. This has the effect of reducing recovery time, while still performing the essential function of removing the thin outer layer of the skin and agitating deeper layers of tissue.
For topical solutions, Dr. Hause offers Obagi Medical and Theraderm products that soothe and repair the skin with daily application. Obagi products are ideal for treating age spots, fine lines, wrinkles, rough skin, red or yellow skin, hyperpigmentation and even skin laxity.
Theraderm products target fine lines and wrinkles and effectively treat rough, dry skin. Theraderm products include a cleansing wash, fruit acid exfoliant, reparative gel, facial moisturizer, skin brightener, eye cream, sunscreen, enzyme peel body restoration cream and extreme dry skin therapy.
To learn more about ways to prevent and reverse sun damage, call Sacramento Aesthetic Surgery at (916) 646-6869 or send us an email to schedule a consultation.