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Sun Damaged Skin Why It Happens And What Works?

Dr. Dhananjay Chavan

Jun 6, 2018

Living on planet Earth, we all know that it is interminable to escape the sun’s wrath. Unless, of course, you inhabit the poles. But for everyone else reading this article, I’m sure you empathize facing every day the unforgiving harsh light of the sun, which leaves its marks long after the exposure.

You could be a woman in her late twenties, just returned from a vacation at the beach, with sunburn as a memento; obviously not the tan you’d planned for. Or you could be a woman in her 40s-50s, one who’s spent too much time outdoors, either gardening or traveling or just shopping for household chores. And without being aware of the necessity of wearing sunscreen at all times, how were you to know that years of bearing witness to the sun would exhibit itself so transparently on your face?

But you can rest your anxiety and fears. In today’s world of miracles that is science and technology, it is possible to erase the sun damage to your skin, and gift yourself with spotless, smoother and younger looking skin!

Before telling you how to let us quickly get to know the enemy better.

Sunburn is nothing but an acute inflammation of the skin due to excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. It starts off by reddening of the skin, seen usually after just 3-4 hours of exposure, and reaching a peak at 12-24 hours. In addition to redness, the skin will also be warm to touch, painful, tender, itchy; because it’s inflamed, it may also appear swollen or demonstrate small fluid-filled blisters. In severe degrees of sunburn, you are at a greater risk of dehydration and infections and may develop a headache, fever, chills, nausea, and fatigue. Healing occurs within 4-7 days by way of peeling. The sunspots, on the other hand, are a result of cumulative sun exposure over years, due to increased melanin.

Sun damage can happen to any area exposed to the sun, including earlobes, scalp, lips, and eyes. The best way to prevent it is to stay covered up, wearing scarves or wide-brimmed hats, to stay hydrated, and to always wear sunscreen (SPF>30).

But if the damage has been done, here’s how you can treat it, without any major risks involved: microdermabrasion.

What is microdermabrasion?

Sounds quite a mouthful, doesn’t it? It is quite simply a procedure though. It’s a non-invasive, non-chemical procedure that involves manual exfoliation of skin, mainly the top layer of the epidermis. It improves the appearance of sun damaged skin by removing the outermost layer of dry, dead skin cells to reveal younger, healthier-looking skin.

What exactly goes into it?

First, the doctor uses a deep cleaning gel or foam to remove any makeup, dust or natural oils from your skin. A device is then applied to your face to abrade the uppermost layer of skin, ie rubbing it away via friction. A moisturizer is applied later. The procedure takes about 30-40 minutes.

At Home vs Clinic.

Yes, microdermabrasion kits are available for you to use at home. Even though promoted as safe and effective, the fact is that home microdermabrasion will never match the professional treatment. Because the professional treatments use pure crystal flows by way of vacuum effect as opposed to crystal-based cream that is part of the at-home kits, they leave no residue to trigger adverse reactions, give better and longer lasting results, and also stimulate collagen remodeling.

You call the shots.

Microdermabrasion is performed by plastic surgeons, dermatologists and also in spas and salons. So choose wisely where and with whom you want to get it done. It’s best to go through a referral. Get a proper consult, which includes an examination of your skin and accordingly the number of treatments needed, the safety of the procedure and the possible side effects, the results that can be plausibly expected, the cost, and whether microdermabrasion is the best treatment plan for you. Equip yourself to make the decision.

How do I prepare?

Stay out of the sun, sacrifice your smoking habit in exchange for smoother looking skin, and clean your face with a cleanser before your appointment.

Oh, that’s not much. What do I have to do after the procedure?

Again, not much. Cleanse your face and apply moisturizer once it dries. Use moisturizer and sunscreen religiously over the next few days, and avoid sun exposure as much as possible. You can start using makeup after a couple of days. Microdermabrasion creams containing vitamins A, C and E help give the skin a fresh and toned look. Avoid using exfoliation products, chemical peels and waxing for a few days.

When is microdermabrasion not a good idea?

If you’ve been taking tretinoin for acne in the past 6 months, or anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDS) in the past one week; if you suffer from eczema, warts, psoriasis, lupus, or have had a sudden breakout of acne, boil or rash, it’s best if you postpone the treatment till the condition is resolved. Also at least until a week before, avoid waxing, facials, chemical peels, laser and other treatments and leave your skin feeling more sensitive.

How good is it really?

Very! Because not much preparation is needed, you can fit it inconveniently as your schedule allows, as there is almost no downtime required. Walk in and walk out with results instantly noticeable, in terms of tone, texture and other signs of aging. It can be comfortably used on any skin type since it is completely painless. Also, because it removes the dead skin cells, it permits your high-tech skin care products to penetrate better and work effectively. All of this is possible just after a single session! Multiple sessions enable you to have:

  • Clean pores. Say goodbye to clogged up pores!
  • New skin cells. Healthy, new cells give your skin a younger look.
  • Smoother skin. Blemishes and fine lines fade over repeated treatments.
  • Reduced scarring. Removes the dead skin cells that form your scar, replacing it with new ones.

Well, okay. Wow. But what about side effects?

Obviously, there are going to be side effects, no technology escapes it. Although any discomfort experienced as part of microdermabrasion is short-lived. This includes redness and swelling, bruising, flaky, dry skin, slight skin tightness and sensitivity, small abrasions and areas of hyperpigmentation. But because microdermabrasion acts only on the outermost layer of skin, the potential drawbacks are very limited and temporary.

Too good to be true?

Not at all! Mainly because it makes no tall claims. Neither does it masquerade under the guise of a single treatment session as a cure, nor does it claim to treat severe damage, involving the deeper layers of skin. So it legitimately boasts of being the ideal treatment for people with minor skin imperfections, a quick procedure with minimal care measures to be taken before or after, minus the baggage of risks that come with other procedures, and bequests you with younger looking skin!

What else can I opt for?

  • To start with, you can use topical creams and gels containing retinoids, vitamins C, E, and other antioxidants. They increase collagen, lighten spots and slow down the signs of aging.
  • Exfoliation in the form of alpha and beta hydroxy acids can be done to stimulate faster skin cell turnover.
  • Chemical peels, whether superficial, medium or deep can be performed as indicated. They require a longer recovery time.
  • When the sun damage involves deeper layers of skin, microdermabrasion isn’t of much use. Big guns have to be called in!

It’s always advisable to get your skin examined, know its demands and then gain the knowledge needed to meet them. Say hello to younger looking, healthier skin!

Q switched Nd Yag laser: How does it work for pigmentation 

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