Protect, Prevent & Correct
Let’s face it… we live in Colorado and love to be outside. It feels great to spend time in the sunshine enjoying our great state, but it can really take a toll on your skin.
The sun’s ultraviolet light damages our skin and causes sunburns. Over time sun exposure builds up and can lead to wrinkles, brown spots, rough texture, broken capillaries and uneven tone, thus adding years to your appearance. Research shows that exposure to radiation from sunlight accounts for more than 90% of premature aging.
The question at hand is… can sun damage really be reversed? Most experts say that while you can’t undo the cellular changes caused by UV radiation, you can reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sunspots, sagging skin, and melasma. So how do we reverse years of sun exposure? With a few simple treatments and products. The results of pigment correcting laser treatments combined with medical grade products are fantastic in reducing the appearance of sun damaged skin.
So where do you start?
The no brainer here is using UVA/UVB sunscreen on a daily basis and….REAPPLYING! As our aesthetician says, if it’s bright enough out that you don’t need your flashlight, you need sunscreen. The problem is, a lot of us put sunscreen on in the morning but never reapply. Next thing you know it’s 5 o’clock, you’re headed to happy hour, the sun’s glaring in on your face as you drive to your favorite watering hole and the hostess seats you in direct sunlight on the patio. Boom! Sun damage occurred, not just on the patio it also happened on the drive to happy hour. Make it a habit to carry sunscreen with you or keep it at work because although sunscreen works great it doesn’t work all day.
We’ve all had those moments where we know a sunburn the next day is pretty much inevitable. You wake up depressed, in pain and wondering how bad it will make your skin look after the red goes away. Those brown spots start to pop up over the next few days and now you are hyper focused on your hyperpigmentation. Good news…we have a treatment that can correct your uneven pigment from sun exposure, if you promise to never get sunburnt again. Say it with me everyone… I promise to never get sunburnt again!
Now that we got that off our chests let’s talk about IPL.
IPL or Intense Pulse Light treatments are the gold standard in pigment reduction and is used to correct brown blotches, uneven pigment and red broken capillaries on the face. IPL can only be done on patients who have not had (or will be having) extensive sun exposure, so it is best to schedule when your big trip to Mexico is NOT right around the corner. Most patients need a series of 3-5 treatments spaced about 1 month apart. You’ll see improvement with each treatment, but it’s common for your skin to respond a little differently each time you have one. The more sun damage or redness you have, the more treatments you will need. If you don’t protect your skin with a good SPF during and after your treatment you run the risk of all the pigment returning. Once you start a series of IPL treatments you are also committed to a daily sunscreen regimen. You’re welcome!
Along with sunscreen antioxidants can help protect your skin from free radicals and reverse the signs of sun damage. Antioxidants reduce free radicals which attack and destroy healthy cells. Topical vitamin C is the most potent and widely used antioxidant because of its ability to help stimulate cell replication and collagen production, which helps firm the skin. It’s extremely effective in diminishing the look of fine lines, wrinkles, dullness, and uneven skin tone. However, vitamin C is one of the most unstable products on the market and that’s why it’s so important to purchase medical grade antioxidants from a physician’s office. Otherwise you’re wasting your money and we’ve already established that if you’re not spending your money on skin care you’d prefer to spend it at happy hour in the shade.
With all of this talk about sun damage prevention and correction, we have to acknowledge that May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, 5 million people are treated for skin cancer annually. In the last 30 years, more people have been diagnosed with skin cancer than any other type of cancer combined. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer at some point in their lifetime. This month vow to make a change. Wear your sunscreen religiously, schedule an appointment with your dermatologist for a skin check and make sure your friends and family are doing the same.