Sun Damage Repair
Repairing Sun Damage
We know that excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet or UV rays can cause sunburn. But did you know that exposure to the sun is responsible for up to 80-90% of all signs of aging? This includes wrinkles, fine lines, uneven pigmentation, reduced elasticity, uneven skin texture, and of course, “sun spots”.
The good news is that many sun exposure-related signs of aging can be successfully treated — and to some extent reversed — to repair previous damage and rejuvenate the skin. We recommend the following treatments to reduce the appearance of fine lines, pigmentation, and skin texture changes caused by sun exposure:
TCA Chemical Peels
TCA is an abbreviation for trichloroacetic acid – a safe, non-toxic chemical used for facial and body chemical peel treatments. When the TCA is applied to the skin, the top layers of cells dry and peel over a period of 5-7 days, resulting in smoother and younger-looking skin.
TCA peels provide a deeper exfoliation than a typical aesthetic facial peel, salon facial or microdermabrasion. However, a TCA peel is not as invasive as laser resurfacing so the recovery time is faster. TCA peels are ideal for treating all the visible signs of sun damage such as uneven pigmentation, “sun spots”, wrinkles and fine lines.
Microneedling with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP)
Microneedling consists of a series of tiny needles that penetrate the upper layer of the skin. When combined with Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) the two work synergistically to reverse the signs of sun damage and rejuvenate the skin to promote a youthful appearance.
The tiny micro-needles create a controlled microscopic injury to the skin, without causing damage. These ‘micro injuries’ facilitate a wound healing cascade, and stimulate the skin to produce new collagen and promote new cell growth. The Platelet Rich Plasma is then applied to newly treated skin. The PRP treatment extracts platelets from your own blood, which is then placed in a centrifuge to concentrate your own healing and growth factors. The PPR is absorbed into the microchannels caused by microneedling, further rejuvenating the skin and stimulating healing.
Retin-A (Retinoic Acid) Treatments
Retin-A is tretinoin or retinoic acid, a derivative of vitamin A that works to reduce the effects of sun damage and UV radiation on the skin. Retin-A has been proven to reverse photo damage that has already occurred, reducing the appearance of fine lines and uneven skin pigmentation, or “sun spots”.
Retin-A works by removing the outermost layer of the skin’s surface, while in turn stimulating new dermal collagen. By doing so, mild redness and dryness may occur when you begin using the product. This tends to improve over time as your skin becomes more tolerant and acclimates to the product, typically over a few weeks. We recommend a light moisturizer to improve skin hydration during this process. You will need to protect your skin from the sun for the duration of the treatment period using a sunblock with either titanium or zinc. Both are physical sunblocks, and provide the best overall protection from UV rays.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you are pregnant or breastfeeding we DO NOT recommend Retin-A treatment because it has been associated with birth defects.
Hydroquinone is a chemical that temporarily inhibits the production of melanin in your skin. Melanin is the pigment that determines the color of our complexion. Hydroquinone is recommended for lightening areas of the skin that may have become darker than the surrounding skin due to sun damage, such as sun spots or uneven pigmentation.
Hydroquinone works by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase — essential in melanin production. Melanin plays an active role in absorbing UV radiation from the sun. As hydroquinone cream inhibits tyrosinase, less melanin is produced, thus creating a lighter and more even skin tone in the treated area.
Because Hydroquinone makes your skin very photo-sensitive to UV rays we recommend wearing a high-factor sunscreen containing a physical blocking agent such as titanium or zinc. Additionally, plan to avoid excessive sun exposure, wear a hat if needed, and reapply your sunblock when outdoors for long periods of time.
Hydroquinone is also a highly effective treatment for acne and acne scarring.
Want to know more about reversing the signs of sun damage?
Please contact us to make an appointment and we can help you create a customized treatment program.