Sun damage causes a range of skin concerns ranging from cosmetic changes to skin cancers. The way the sun affects your skin is mainly genetic. However, in Australia, it is vital for everyone to maintain high UV protection to avoid damage to your skin.
Sun damage, skin texture changes & skin aging.
Sun damage is the primary cause of wrinkling, skin texture changes & facial ageing. This damage is cumulative: even small doses add up weekly, monthly, yearly to premature ageing. UV radiation from the sun damages collagen and elastin causes free radical production and skin inflammation and makes your skin cells behave abnormally.
- Cell turnover decreases causing a build-up of dead compacted skin cells.
- The skin becomes duller, loses its youthful glow and becomes coarser and rougher.
- Reduced collagen and damaged elastin result in fine lines and wrinkles and sagging of the skin.
- Sun damage also causes abnormal pigmentation with clumps of pigment discolouring the surface
The sun doesn’t merely speed up the normal ageing process. Instead, it causes us to age in a different way – this is called photo ageing.
Photo ageing texture changes include:
1. Dry, rough upper layer of skin with a build up of dead compacted skin cells.
2. Decreased ability to hold moisture
3. Enlarging pores.
4. Blotchy pigmentation.
Sun damage also leads to a decrease in collagen production – an essential protein in your skin. It damages elastin fibres which give your skin youthful spring. This results in further skin texture changes:
5. Skin becoming thick, leathery
6. Fine lines and wrinkles develop.
Sun damage can also cause more severe problems, such as skin cancer.
Because of this, the most important way that you can take care of your skin is to protect it from the sun. Daily use of a good-quality sunscreen or sunblock combined with reduced sun exposure should form a fundamental part of your anti-ageing skincare routine.
Treatment Options For Skin Texture & Sun Damaged Skin
Treatment options to improve your surface texture and sun damage concerns depend on the changes and how severe they are.
Skin Care Essentials To Treat Sun Damage & Ageing
1. SPF 30+ SUNSCREEN
2. Prescription retinoids can reverse photo ageing to give a more youthful appearance.
- Retinoids increase cell turnover, decrease the build-up of dead compacted cells giving the skin a more youthful glow and smoother surface.
- They stimulate collagen production and repair elastin to reduce the depth of wrinkles.
- They decrease skin pigmentation to give a more even skin colour.
Various types of resurfacing or laser/ light treatments:
- Chemical Peels – medium-depth peels such as a TCA peel or Jessner Peel
- IPL or laser treats sun damage pigmentation and broken capillaries
- Radiofrequency skin resurfacing
- Radiofrequency skin tightening
- Fractionated laser treatments.
Assessment Of Your Skin Texture and Sun Damaged Concerns?
Sun damaged skin should be assessed by a Doctor to exclude more serious skin cancer. A medical skin consultation with our skin doctor attracts a fee. However, you can claim 100% of the assessment fee back on Medicare. Consultation cost: $70
Our therapists can provide a free assessment at the outset, but generally, sun damaged skin treatment involves a prescription or medical treatments and referral to our Doctor.
Sun damaged skin and precancerous sunspots.
A common sign of sun damaged skin is the appearance of a precancerous sunspot. The correct medical terms for a sunspot is actinic keratosis or solar keratosis.
- left untreated a percentage of actinic keratosis ( solar keratosis ) can become cancerous
- actinic keratosis present as a scaley surface lesion
- they can be scraped off, but it is best to treat these
Treatment of actinic keratosis
- cryotherapy or liquid nitrogen (sunspot destroyed by freezing )
- diathermy (sunspot is destroyed by heat)
- topical prescription creams for more extensive solar keratosis
- PDT therapy also used for extensive sun damage
- care is exercised to avoid scarring when treating sunspots on the face.
Topical Prescription Vitamin A For Solar Keratosis
Like all manifestation of sun damage to the skin, prescription vitamin A is used to treat solar keratosis. Started early they can reverse sun damage and early keratosis, making this an essential treatment for all manifestations of sun damaged skin.
Book an assessment with Dr Monisha for assessment. Consultation fee is $70 and fully refundable by Medicare.
Sun damaged skin & age spots or liver spots.
Another common presentation of sun damage is the appearance of age spots or liver spots. These occur commonly on the face and back of hands. However, they can occur on arms, legs and any part of the body exposed to excess sun.
Treatment of age spots & liver spots
Once again prescription vitamin A forms an important component of treatment of age spots. However, these pigmentation spots often require additional treatments.
- peels such as TCA are very effective for removing age spots
- IPL & laser
- Diathermy if used carefully
Genetics And Sun Damage
Looking at your parents and grandparents will tell you how your skin will age. Some people because of skin colour and other genetic factors are less vulnerable to sun damage and wrinkle formation.
Tip: no matter how good your genetics sun protection is essential to retard the progression of ageing.
No miracle ingredient will make sun damage & wrinkles disappear.
If you want to prevent and treat wrinkles, there are skin products and prescription treatments that will help with skin health and retard the progression of ageing. Other important factors are a healthy diet, sun protection, cessation of smoking.
Are you concerned with facial aging and sun damage? Come in for a free assessment to discuss treatment options.