Photos of summer vacation are not all you have to remind you of those lazy days of summer. The sun’s damaging rays have left their mark on your skin. Now that it is autumn, it is the perfect time to assess and treat your skin damage. Holiday parties and family get-togethers will be here soon. Start working now towards achieving that holiday glow!
A common manifestation of sun damage is hyperpigmentation. Hyperpigmentation is the appearance of patches of skin that have a darker coloration than the surrounding skin. Some people are genetically predisposed to hyperpigmentation. Often, there is a hormonal component as well. However, sun exposure is far and away the number one key trigger to unsightly, irregular melanin production.
A simple way to decrease or lighten hyperpigmentation is through a medical-grade microdermabrasion treatment. Microdermabrasion, or a “skin polish”, vacuums fine crystals across the skin under pressure to provide superior exfoliation of areas affected by sun damage. As dead skin cells are removed and new cells are produced, your skin’s natural glow is restored. Safe and comfortable for all skin types, microdermabrasion may result in a brief period of light redness, but has no real downtime. Microdermabrasion treatments coupled with physician-grade skin care products may yield the result you desire, but other options are also available.
Chemical peels can help improve the appearance of hyperpigmentation issues such as age spots, melasma, and general sun damage. A mixture of acids exfoliates the top layer of the skin, stimulating the growth of smoother, younger-looking skin. A peel can be used on the face, neck, back, hands, décolleté (breastbone/chest area), or around the lips. Mild peels can be performed over several weeks in order to minimize downtime while maximizing effectiveness.
In terms of devices that can be used to effectively treat sun damage, Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is at the head of the class. IPL, also called photorejuvenation or photofacial, uses potent pulses of light to penetrate the epidermis. The (non-UV) light beam is selectively absorbed by melanin, resulting in fragmentation of the melanin. The melanin pigment is subsequently resorbed by the body, effectively lightening the skin. The surface result is a more even skin tone and smoother complexion. A series of 3 to 5 treatments are typically needed, timed at about a month apart. So it is wise to get started now in order to rejuvenate your skin before the holidays.
Physician-grade skin care products that provide therapeutic doses of vitamins every day are exceptional weapons against hyperpigmentation and all manners of sun damage. In particular, vitamin A (retinol) is crucial for skin care as it regulates skin cell behavior. Vitamin C is also a powerhouse vitamin that aids in improving the appearance of uneven skin tone and sun damaged skin. These products should be used year-round along with a sunscreen.
Your summer memories will remain, but with these procedures, the sun damage will fade.