Sun Damage: Reverse & Repair
With summer holidays just on the horizon, it’s important to keep your skin protected whilst you catch some rays. If you have previously stepped out into the sunshine with little or no protection, you might now be discovering the damaging effects this had on your skin. Whether you’ve only just noticed the effects of your time spent in the sun or if you’ve been a devoted sun worshipper for years, we’re here to explain what causes sun damage, how it can present itself in our skin, what you can do to prevent it in the future, and how with the help of our treatments you can reverse and repair sun damaged skin.
What causes sun damage?
Sun damage is caused by exposing unprotected skin to the sun for too long. Although some exposure to sunlight is recommended as it is an important source of vitamin D, over exposure to UV rays damages the skin’s cellular DNA and can cause pigmentation, wrinkles, dryness, leathery texture and even skin cancer. The sun’s heat dries out areas of unprotected skin and depletes the skin’s supply of natural lubricating oils. In addition to this, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause burning and long-term changes in the skin’s structure.
How does sun damage present itself?
Sun burn or sun tans: the first sign of sun damage to the skin is the darkening and reddening of the skin, which causes burning or a tan. A sun tan is the result of injury to the epidermis (the top layer of the skin) and develops when UV rays accelerate the production of melanin which is dark pigment in the skin. Click here to discover how to achieve sun-kissed skin safely this summer.
Pigmentation: Prolonged exposure to the sun with little to no protection activates and damages the melanocyte cells in the skin. Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells located in the bottom layer of the skin’s epidermis, and therefore through over exposure to the sun, this can cause pigmentation in the form of sun spots, darker patches of skin and inconsistencies in the skin’s overall colour.
Enlarged pores: Over time, sun exposure causes the outermost layer of the skin to thicken. The loss of collagen, elastin and water from the skin causes the underlying layers of the skin to shrink – leading to enlarged pores.
Ageing Skin: It is natural for our skin to age over time and lose its youthful appearance, however over exposure to the sun can further accelerate this process.
What treatments can help sun damage?
Depending on the level of your sun damage or pigmentation, the treatment recommended by your practitioner will vary from a light skin peel, to more advanced laser treatments. Some of the below treatments are amongst our most popular for treating pigmentation concerns:
Chemical skin peels
Chemical skin peels help in improving the appearance of skin by applying solutions to the skin, which cause the outer layer of the skin to gradually peel off. The new skin that emerges underneath is fresher, smoother and will have fewer pigmentation patches. Skin peels are composed of special and natural ingredients that are crucial for the development, rejuvenation and protection of skin. The TCA and Hibiscus Mandelic skin peel treatments effectively heal the skin from sun damage in a completely non-invasive manner. Additionally, skin peels enhance the skin’s glow and give it a youthful appearance.
Using Intense Pulse light therapy, this proven technique is excellent at targeting pigment deep within the skin. The light effectively breaks down the darker patches causing pigmentation, encouraging them to shatter and disperse, revealing a more even skin tone.
EDS/Dermaroller uses a specialised device with multiple micro-fine needles which are used to deeply exfoliate the skins surface. The size of the needles can be adjusted accordingly to the skin type and concern of the client. This skin treatment gives best results on skin with mild to moderate sun damage.
Microneedling is a highly effective treatment using a small handheld device that triggers increased cell turnover helping to force the pigmentation damage to the surface of the skin, leaving a clearer more even skin tone.
What can I do to prevent sun damage?
The very simple answer to this one is to invest in a high quality broad spectrum UVA/UVB SPF. SPF lotions and sun creams help to protect your skin during sunny weather by increasing the amount of time that you can stay in the sun, without getting burnt. For example, a factor 30 SPF extends the amount of time that you can stay in the sun by 30 times.
We recommend that you choose your level of SPF accordingly to your skin’s tolerance to the sun; if you have fair skin or are prone to burning, and if you have a history of skin cancer in your family, opt for something higher. Whilst all SPF’s contain protection from UVB (ultraviolet B) rays it’s also particularly important to make sure your SPF has a high UVA (ultraviolet A) star rating. This indicates that the UVA protection is at least one third of the SPF value, and the higher the star rating, the better!
We have a range of both face and body SPFs that you can shop in clinic or online here.
If you have any further queries or concerns about sun damage or pigmentation that you have, please fill in the form below to arrange a free consultation with one of our expert practitioners who will be able to give your skin a thorough assessment and advise on the best way to treat your concerns.
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