YOUR SKIN CHALLENGE: SUN DAMAGE, AGE SPOTS AND PIGMENTATION
Sun damage on your skin can become visible from as early as your twenties and this can become more pronounced as your become older & pigmentation treatment becomes essential for you. Fine and coarse wrinkles, an irregular pigmentation, deteriorating skin texture, the loss of elasticity, sagging, an uneven skin tone, and a dull colour are all signs of sun damage on your skin. Skin damaged by the sun often experiences a loss in volume and suppleness, and blood vessels become more enlarged and visible on your skin’s surface. The appearance of blood vessels on your skin can lead to a read, blotchy, uneven complexion. Just a few minutes of regular, unprotected exposure to the harsh sun can, over a period of time, lead to noticeable changes to the skin. Some changes you may notice, as a result of sun damage are freckles, age spots, broken veins, and a weathered, leathery appearance.
Age spots, also known as liver spots or sun spot,s are those unwelcome patches of discoloured, darkened skin that appear on your skin. These unsightly age spots can occur on your face, hands, back, legs, and arms. Age spots range from light brown to dark brown and even black. You can develop age spots at any age, however they are more common in people who are over 40, have fair skin and have a history of frequent sun exposure.
Melasma or chloasma, also known as hormonal pigmentation, is a skin condition characterized by a brown or blue-gray skin discoloration. This skin condition usually affects women, but some men have been known to suffer from the condition. The exact cause of melasma is uncertain, but it typically develops in women during their reproductive years and after this period it requires pigmentation treatment.
Causes of age spots and pigmentation
Age spots are caused by inflammation in response to excessive sun exposure. Melasma, which is caused by an overproduction of pigmentation on the skin may be triggered by various factors. These include sun exposure, contraception pills and hormone treatment pills, certain medications or hormonal fluctuations during pregnancy. Darker skinned people are more prone to developing melasma. The pigmentation caused by this condition usually appears on the cheeks, chin, forehead and upper lip. It is a chronic condition that requires pigmentation treatment and management.
Prevention of Sun Damage?
The first thing you need do is to practice good skincare which means you always need to be attentive when the sun is out. Using sunscreen and applying it to the parts of your body that are exposed to the sun daily such as your arms, hands, face, feet and legs – this will help ensure that your skin is taken care of when you are out in the hot sun. Depending on the amount of time you spend outdoors SPF 30 should be fine for you to use every day. If you spend most of your time outdoors then you will need a stronger sunscreen, maybe SPF 50 and above. The trick with applying sunscreen is to apply it about 30 minutes before you go out and to keep reapplying it every two to three hours while being outdoors. If you swim or if you are an athlete this technique helps prevent the sunscreen from being washed off your skin by water or body sweat. Beside only wearing sunscreen, you can also seek sun-protective clothes if you intend spending your day in the sun hiking or fishing, protective clothes will be of great use. It’s a special type of fabric, although it is long sleeve it is designed to keep your skin from burning without adding to your already heated body temperature. These are small efforts that can help you prevent sun damage and ageing spots from forming in the future.
Symptoms of Sun Damage
Sun-damaged skin shows a number of characteristic symptoms. Sun spots are the most obvious, but wrinkles, lines, leathery texture, brittleness, broken capillaries, and pigmentation problems can also result from sun exposure. Any of these conditions can produce signs of premature aging on the skin, even on surprisingly young patients.
Sun Damage Treatment
There are a wide variety of cosmetic dermatology treatments available for sun damage. BOTOX® Cosmetic is an effective injection treatment for wrinkles. It immobilizes the muscles responsible for the formation of wrinkles, softening their appearance. Because sun damage involves damage to the skin’s natural collagen, collagen injections can be used to treat wrinkles and lines caused by exposure to the sun.
Chemical peels and abrasive procedures are another option for sun damage treatment. A chemical peel strips away dead skin cells and damaged outer layers of the skin, stimulating the growth of healthy new skin. Microdermabrasion, a procedure that exfoliates the outer layers of the skin with a spray of fine crystals, can also be used to stimulate new skin growth. Both these techniques are excellent for removing or reducing the appearance of minor scars and blemishes as well as signs of sun damage.
There are also a variety of laser and light techniques available to treat sun-damaged skin. With Intense Pulsed Light (IPL™) therapy, the dermatologist treats the skin with flashes of light from a high-energy, full-spectrum xenon lamp. This technique is particularly effective for treating pigmentation problems and capillary damage. Laser skin resurfacing uses a single wavelength laser beam to dissolve molecular bonds in the skin and vaporize the outer skin layers. Once the skin heals, it appears tighter and smoother. Lasers are also used to remove sun spots.
The Obagi® prescription skin care line is a good option for patients who want to avoid more involved procedures that often require recovery and healing time. Obagi® offers a wide variety of products that are available by prescription from a cosmetic dermatologist. These products are specifically designed to address skin problems associated with sun damage and other threats to skin health.