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Sun Damaged Skin

One of the main functions of the skin is to protect the body from damage through exposure to UV (Ultraviolet) radiation from the sun. As a consequence however, with years of exposure to UV radiation, the skin becomes damaged and we term this Photodamage. The visible effect of sun damage on the surface of the skin varies in how it presents and will develop at different rates in different people.

Sun-Damaged-Skin-2

Our Approach

Our approach to sun damage is a matter of priorities:

  1. First priority is to prevent sun damage in the first place which is why there are education programs and such an emphasis on appropriate clothing and sunscreen for children.
  2. Second priority is to try and prevent further damage by the use of protective clothing and sunscreen in adults who are already showing signs of sun damage on their skin.
  3. Third priority is to identify and monitor if necessary the possible development of skin cancers be it with skin checks or skin mapping.
  4. Fourth priority is to consider how to try and repair damaged skin and improve the appearance of sun damaged skin.

About the condition

The sun can damage both the surface epidermal layer of the skin which contains pigment cells, and the deeper dermal layer that contains blood vessels and the collagen that gives skin structural support. As a result the main skin changes that we see from sun damage are to the colour (pigmentation and redness), contour (lines and wrinkles) and texture (dryness and roughness) of the skin.

Other cells in the skin such as basal cells and squamous cells can also be affected by UV and if the DNA in these cells is damaged then skin cancers can develop, what are called BCC (Basal cell carcinoma) or SCC (Squamous cell carcinoma). When the DNA of the pigment producing cells (melanocytes) is damaged the potentially very dangerous Melanoma can develop.

Sun-Damaged-Skin-Diagram

Treatment options

Treatment of sun-damaged skin depends on the degree of damage and the level of improvement required. The best results are achieved by a combination approach.

  • Topical treatments can help slow the rate of further damage (sunscreen), replace hydration (moisturiser) and help with repair (cosmeceuticals such as Retinoic acid).
  • Local treatments such as liquid nitrogen can help target and remove skin pre-cancers.
  • Nutritional supplements can be beneficial, for example Nicotinamide (which at dose of 500 mg twice a day can significantly reduce the rate of skin cancer recurrence).
  • Dermal treatments such as Microdermabrasion, Peels and Laser Peels can help exfoliate dead skin cells, improve skin tone and texture and stimulate some collagen.
  • Laser treatments with Pigment lasers such as the FRAXEL laser and Picotoning can target excessive skin pigment while Vascular lasers such as the Excel V and Laser Genesis can target unwanted redness caused by increased vascularity.
  • Broadband light treatments such as the BBL can target pigment and redness concurrently to rejuvenate skin and then maintain skin health with protocols such as ‘Forever Young’.
  • Skin needling including with fractional radiofrequency (INFINI) can produce collagen remodeling which can improve scarring and wrinkling.
  • Photo Dynamic Therapy can be used to treat pre-cancers on the skin before they become skin cancers.
  • Injectables such as Anti-wrinkle injections to soften and remove unwanted wrinkles and Dermal fillers to replace skin volume that has been lost because of sun damage can both give significant improvement in the right situation.

How it works

Treatment of sun-damaged skin depends on the degree of damage and the level of improvement required. The best results are achieved by a combination approach.

  • Topical treatments can help slow the rate of further damage (sunscreen), replace hydration (moisturiser) and help with repair (cosmeceuticals such as Retinoic acid).
  • Local treatments such as liquid nitrogen can help target and remove skin pre-cancers.
  • Nutritional supplements can be beneficial, for example Nicotinamide (which at dose of 500 mg twice a day can significantly reduce the rate of skin cancer recurrence).
  • Dermal treatments such as Microdermabrasion, Peels and Laser Peels can help exfoliate dead skin cells, improve skin tone and texture and stimulate some collagen.
  • Laser treatments with Pigment lasers such as the FRAXEL laser and Picotoning can target excessive skin pigment while Vascular lasers such as the Excel V and Laser Genesis can target unwanted redness caused by increased vascularity.
  • Broadband light treatments such as the BBL can target pigment and redness concurrently to rejuvenate skin and then maintain skin health with protocols such as ‘Forever Young’.
  • Skin needling including with fractional radiofrequency (INFINI) can produce collagen remodeling which can improve scarring and wrinkling.
  • Photo Dynamic Therapy can be used to treat pre-cancers on the skin before they become skin cancers.
  • Injectables such as Anti-wrinkle injections to soften and remove unwanted wrinkles and Dermal fillers to replace skin volume that has been lost because of sun damage can both give significant improvement in the right situation.

FAQs

Before and after

Neck-Rejuvenation-Before-After-3
Hand-Rejuvenation-Before-After-3
Photorejuvenation-Before-After-2

Before and after images are presented purely as a reference point of the results that can be achieved. Everyone is unique and outcomes will vary and realistic expectations need to be discussed on a case by case basis.

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