Treating Sun Damage
Sun damage is a very common and serious problem in skincare. As everyone has some amount of sun exposure, sun damage tends to accumulate with age, and as careful as we may be, some amount of sun damage is almost inevitable. Although some of the DNA damage may not be completely reversible, there are many treatments that can reduce its damage or improve the appearance of sun damage. Below are some common ways to treat sun damaged skin:
OTC Topical Medication:
Several over the counter creams treat sun damage or have some effect on sun damaged skin. Alpha hydroxyl acids such as glycolic acid and lactic acid, as well as vitamin C are known to have positive effects on the skin's surface, smoothing out minor skin texture problems. In OTC products, however, the concentration of these ingredients is typically low, so drastic improvements should not be expected, and it will take time to see a difference.
Prescription Topical Medication:
A dermatologist may prescribe a prescription strength topical medication for sun damaged skin. There are many overlaps in terms of ingredients with OTC medications, but will often have higher concentrations of the active ingredient.
Chemical peels are an acid solution that is applied to the skin's surface in order to damage the skin in a way that stimulates fresh newer skin growth. When successful, the renewed skin is of higher quality, and can remove common symptoms of sun damage-minor wrinkles, pigmentation changes, and minor scarring. The strengths of the acids vary. Generally, stronger acids damage the skin deeper, and result in greater efficacy, but have higher risks, and a longer recovery time.
Skin Fillers and BOTOX:
Skin fillers are used primarily to treat fine lines and wrinkles. Sun damage accelerates the occurrence of certain types of wrinkles. Skin fillers are effective treatments for lines and wrinkles, and have an immediate effect on the skin's appearance, and have very little recovery time. For this reason, they are a very popular treatment in clinics. BOTOX is a type of filler, but it contains a toxin (in safe amounts) that freezes the muscle which cause wrinkling. One drawback is that most fillers are temporary, lasting from 6 to 12 months as they are foreign substances to the body, and are metabolized over time. At this point, re-treatment will be necessary.
Lasers and light based therapies are another way in which the surface of the skin can be damaged in a controlled way to induce skin recovery, which is typically better quality than before. There are a variety of laser machines with varying strengths and weaknesses. Modern lasers offer the patient many choices, and can treat a wide variety of symptoms.
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