Top Five Treatments for Sun Damaged Skin
|The Pros and Cons of Anti-Aging Treatments|
While advances in dermatology offer patients effective, new treatments for sun damage like chemical peels and laser resurfacing, these treatments do have their drawbacks. If actinic keratosis and the threat of skin cancer are not present, dermatologists usually recommend patients try over the counter skin-care treatments before electing more abrasive procedures. Any treatment that removes the top layer of the skin can require up to two weeks of recovery time. Patients must allow the skin to heal.
Although the sun’s warmth makes us feel happy, its ultra-violet rays can dry out and damage skin cells, causing sun spots, actinic keratosis and even cancer. Staying out of the sun during peak hours, wearing sunscreen, moisturizing and practicing a nourishing skin-care regimen are the best ways to prevent sun damage. If you have already developed sun spots or other skin problems, the following are the top five sun damage treatments.
1. Over-the-Counter Creams — If your sun damage has taken the form of sun spots, the first treatments you could try can be purchased from any pharmacy or beauty supply counter. Use an exfoliating face wash to cleanse and brighten your skin, removing the outer layer of dead skin cells. Try a hydrating anti-aging cream containing hydroquinone, Retin-A with kojic acid and a mild steroid cream. This will lighten the brown sun spots.
2. Chemical Peels — More stubborn sun spots and blotches can be faded or removed using a type of facial provided by dermatologists known as chemical peels. A chemical peel removes the surface layer of the skin, allowing skin to heal. A peel often improves skin tone and the appearance of scars.
3. Dermabrasion — Dermabrasion is used to reduce the appearance of minor skin irregularities. The process uses a machine to remove the top layer of skin. As the skin heals, surface irregularities appear less prominent. Dermabrasion and microdermabrasion (less abrasive) often require several treatments to achieve their full effects.
4. Photo Facial — Modern dermatology has brought anti-aging laser treatments. During a photo facial, skin is covered with a photo-reactive cream and an intense pulsed light (IPL) is directed at damaged skin. The light stimulates damaged skin cells to promote healing. This treatment removes no layers of skin.
5. Laser Resurfacing — Used to treat more severe sun damage, like actinic keratosis, laser resurfacing works like a chemical peel by removing the top layer of skin. Rather than dissolving with chemicals, a laser burns the skin away. This eliminates actinic keratosis and allows the skin to heal.
If you have sun spots and sun damaged skin, contact a dermatologist to discuss treatments.
- Johns Hopkins Medicine (2014). Treating Aged or Sun Damaged Skin.
- Drugs.com (2014). Sun-Damaged Skin.
- Skin Cancer Foundation (2014). Repair (and Even Reverse) Signs of Sun Damage.