Sun Damage and the Aging Process
You’ve heard time and time again, ‘Don’t forget your sunscreen!’, as you walk out the door on a sunny day. Why is this? Well, when you don’t have protection from UV rays, it can have detrimental effects on your skin and speed up the aging process.
UV Radiation and Your Skin
UV radiation speeds up the aging process by damaging your skin at a cellular level. UVR can cause alterations to your very DNA, leading to potentially developing pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions. Beyond the C word, these lesions will need to be removed, leading to unwanted scars in the best of cases. UVR also damages the cells that control skin elasticity. When we lose this, fine lines start to develop and eventually turn into deeper lines that are more difficult to correct.
Decreasing Your Risk of Sun Damage
The best ways to decrease your risk of sun damage include:
- Wearing a broad rim hat
- Choosing UV rated sunglasses
- Using sunscreen and re-applying every few hours (or more often if in water or exercising) if you are out in the sun
- Wearing shirts that are rated for UV protection.
It is also important to have a comprehensive routine for skin care. Similar to having a fitness routine to maintain your body, having a regular skin care routine to take care of your skin is essential. Washing your face daily helps to clear the oils that build up overnight. Exfoliating your skin by using a gentle, dermatologist recommended skin scrub a few times a week is a good way to help get rid of dead skin.
How Can Cosmetic Treatment Help?
If you did not protect your skin from the ravages of UVR, there are treatments that can help improve your skin’s appearance. These treatments include prescription topical treatments which contain vitamin A derivatives (i.e. retinol or retin A), chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser skin resurfacing. The severity of the skin damage will guide how aggressive the treatment may need to be. The more aggressive the treatment, the more down time you’ll need for the skin to recover. No one treatment is best, as each person is unique and has specific goals that they are trying to meet. It is important to increase the use of sunscreen after having a treatment as the skin is often more susceptible to a burn from the sun.
The Bottom Line
Having a good skin care regime can slow the progression toward aging-looking skin. It is important to wash or cleanse your face in the morning and at night. Exfoliating your skin regularly is also effective to get rid of excess dead skin. Use sunscreen even if you are not going to be participating in outdoor activities – even driving or riding in a car exposes your skin to UV radiation which can speed up the aging of your skin. Use dermatologist recommended moisturizers.
If your skin shows signs of sun damage or you would like to talk to a cosmetic specialist about what you should be doing to protect your skin from UVR, give us a call today. KDS offers a wide range of facial treatments that allow each patient to find what best fits their body.