Reversing Summer’s Sun Damage
Summer’s end signals back to school, back to work, and back to your Aesthetician. That’s right – this is the busiest time for most Aestheticians as clients fill their appointment books with requests for sun damage reversal treatments and other restorative modalities designed to treat sun damaged skin.
Despite the most ardent efforts to protect the skin during the summer months, the summer sun still manages to stress the skin and leave its mark on our faces and bodies.
As we move into the Fall season, tans start to fade and are replaced by brown spots, freckles and a few new lines and wrinkles.
The Effects of Sun Damage
Exposure to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays can have long- and short-term effects on the skin.
Short-Term effects from over exposure or a sunburn can include some or all of the following:
- Blistering and peeling of the skin
- Tinea Veriscolor* (white spots)
*these can be long-term conditions if not treated early
Long-Term effects are the result of repeated and excessive exposure to the sun over the years, resulting in more serious conditions that can include:
- Breakdown of Collagen and Elastin from which you get
- Horizontal and vertical lines
- Dry, leathery texture to the skin
- Benign and cancerous skin growths
Treating and Restoring Sun Damaged Skin
EXFOLIATION – this is the most basic treatment and the best place to start. Exfoliation removes the surface layer of dead and damaged skin cells which immediately improves the texture of the skin and allows for better absorption of beneficial products and treatments. There are different ways to exfoliate the skin:
Scrubs are a mechanical way to remove the outermost surface of the skin. It will not help change the pigment but does improve cellular turnover and help prepare the surface of the skin for more restorative treatments. Mechanical exfoliants include micro-beads, crushed apricot kernels or almond shells, sugar or salt crystals and abrasive sponges, brushes and loofahs, to name a few.
Microdermabrasion is another mechanical method of exfoliation that involves a two-part system. Micro-crystals or diamond flakes to abrade the skin’s surface and a tiny vacuum to gently lift and suction the dead skin cells. The intensity of the microdermabrasion can be adjusted according to your skin type, condition, and your skincare professional’s assessment. It is a non-invasive process that is painless, simple and easy. Results are immediate and noticeable. Click the link to learn more about Microdermabrasion
Chemical Peels are an effective way to treat and reserve signs of sun damage like sunspots, freckles and fine lines. There are different types of chemicals used for reversing damage, each with their own pros and cons, depending on your skin type and condition. For more information on the types of chemicals used, read our article on Chemical Peels
LIGHT THERAPY is an effective way to reverse signs of sun damage and restore the skin to a healthier condition. Fractional Laser, IPL (Intense Pulse Light) and LED (Light-emitting Diode Therapy) are three of the most common light therapies used.
IPL therapy – also referred to as a Photo Facial delivers broadband light into the skin layers to rejuvenate, restore and reverse sun damaged skin. It also helps minimize the appearance for hyperpigmentation, minimize enlarged pores (also a result of sun damage) and improve the look of fine lines and wrinkles. For more information on IPL and how it works, read Intense Pulsed Light (IPL)
Fractional Laser delivers a beam of laser light that splits into thousands of micro-beams to stimulate the collagen without harming the outer layer of skin. This ultimately restores collagen levels, resulting in a firmer, more youthful appearance. The procedure is painless and there is no downtime, however, as with all light therapy treatments, a series of three or more sessions may be required to achieve the desired results. Learn more about Anti-aging Treatment using Laser here.
LED therapy delivers wavelengths of red light that improves the skin’s barrier function, increasing its ability to heal and generate new collagen after sun damage or from aging. It is one of the newest age-reversing light treatments on the menu of most quality skincare establishments. Results are extremely positive after just a few sessions.
HYDRATION may seem like a simple and ineffectual way to reverse sun damage, but it happens to be critical. The simple act of hydrating and nourishing the skin, helps keep it supple and stress-free. For intense hydration an Oxygen Facial is a great way to give the skin an imediate boost. A stream of oxygen is forced into the skin to restore tired, dull and lifeless skin. This process also improves the absorption of nourishing active ingredients used in the treatment to restore the skin.
Hydrating products like hyaluronic acid combined with niacinamide help hydrate the skin while minimizing redness and correcting sun spots and other hyperpigmentation.
There are dozens of OTC products designed to improve and restore hydration to the skin. They key is to use them regularly to keep the skin protected. For some effective home-made hydration remedies read our article on How to Soothe and Hydrate Dry Skin