As the fall months begin, it’s time to take a closer look at your skincare. The summer sun can feel good on your skin, but it can also cause sun damage and premature aging. Sun damage can cause your skin to appear older, you may see dark spots, and wrinkles may start to form. At Chernoff Plastic Surgery, our team is here to provide you with the best cosmetic treatments for sun damage and to help you understand why it occurs. Keep reading to learn more.
Sun Damage 101
Although sunlight is essential for our well-being and vitamin D synthesis, it can also be a double-edged sword. Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can lead to skin damage, manifesting as premature aging, wrinkles, and, notably, pigmentation changes like sunspots. But how exactly does this damage occur, and when should it raise alarms?
How It Happens
The sun gives off two primary types of UV rays: UVA and UVB. While UVA rays delve deep into the skin, causing premature aging, UVB rays target the skin’s surface, often resulting in sunburn. Both types play a role in pigmentation changes.
When our skin is exposed to this UV radiation, it produces more melanin as a defense mechanism. This process is the skin’s way of shielding itself from UV-induced DNA damage. However, chronic sun exposure can make melanocytes (the cells responsible for melanin production) hyperactive, leading to an overproduction of melanin. This excess melanin accumulates in the skin’s upper layers, forming concentrated patches of pigment known as sunspots or solar lentigines.
As we age, our skin undergoes changes that can exacerbate sun-induced pigmentation. The number and activity of melanocytes decrease, but those that remain enlarge and distribute melanin unevenly. Consequently, older skin exposed to UV radiation might produce melanin more concentratedly, intensifying the appearance of sunspots.
Should you be concerned?
While sunspots are generally benign and primarily a cosmetic concern, it’s essential to differentiate them from potentially harmful skin changes. Any sudden alterations in size, shape, color, or texture of a pigmented spot or the emergence of new spots should prompt a dermatological consultation. Here are some signs to watch out for:
- Border irregularity: If the edges are uneven, notched, or blurred.
- Asymmetry: If one half of the spot doesn’t match the other.
- Diameter: If the spot is larger than the size of a pencil eraser.
- Evolution: Any change in size, shape, color, or elevation, or any new symptom like bleeding, itching, or crusting.
- Color variations: If the spot has multiple colors or uneven shading.
These are the ABCDEs of melanoma, which is a common form of skin cancer. If you notice any of these signs, seek a dermatologist’s opinion immediately.
Treating Sun Damage
While sun protection is usually your first line of defense against pigmentation, Dr. Chernoff and his dedicated team have curated a range of treatments specifically targeting sun damage. These treatments not only address the visible signs of sun damage but also work at a cellular level to rejuvenate and restore the skin.
Different Treatments for Different Needs
Every individual’s skin is unique, and so is the extent and nature of their sun damage. Recognizing this, Chernoff Cosmetic Surgery provides a wide range of treatments, each designed to address specific concerns:
- Fractionated DOT CO2 Laser: This cutting-edge laser treatment delves deep into the skin, stimulating collagen production, which not only helps in skin tightening but also aids in reducing the appearance of sunspots.
- Aerolase: This is more than just a laser treatment. Aerolase addresses a spectrum of skin concerns, from pigmentation issues like sunspots to other skin irregularities, offering a holistic approach to skin health.
- TriBeam Q-Switch nD Yag Laser – this is an excellent option for stubborn pigment and flat moles that is performed in a series of treatments.
- SaltFacial: Don’t be fooled by the name; the SaltFacial is more than a facial. It uses the power of three separate components: Sea Salt Exfoliation, Caviatiging Ultrasound, and LED light to dramatically improve sun spots and sun damage.
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): A light-based therapy, IPL specifically targets the melanin in sunspots. By breaking down this pigment, the body can naturally eliminate it, leading to a reduction in the appearance of sunspots.
- Peels: By using specific chemical solutions, peels remove the outermost layers of the skin, which often hold the most visible signs of sun damage. As the skin heals, newer, less pigmented skin comes to the surface.
- Medical-grade products: Topical treatments, like the Cyspera Intensive System, harness the power of advanced ingredients to correct pigmentation and enhance overall skin health.
Synergy in Combination
Combining Treatments for Success
One of the most exciting aspects of modern cosmetic treatments is the potential for combination therapies – by layering and combining treatments, patients can maximize their results. For instance, patients have had exceptional results with an Aerolase treatment followed immediately with a peel in the same treatment session. Then, patients can follow that up with either a series of dual treatments or with facials, such as the SaltFacial, that can both target sunspots and improve overall skin texture. The key is customization, ensuring each patient receives a combination tailored to their unique needs. The key is customization, ensuring each patient receives a combination tailored to their unique needs.
Tracking Your Progress
At Chernoff Cosmetic Surgery, the journey doesn’t end with the treatment. Our team conducts comprehensive skin analyses to track your progress over time. Your analysis evaluates both visible sun damage and any underlying issues, and with the aid of specialized cameras, the team can measure the health of your skin, providing tangible data to track improvement. This meticulous approach ensures that treatments are effective and can be adjusted as needed for optimal results.
Rediscover Your Natural Beauty at Chernoff Plastic Surgery
Although overexposure to the sun can damage your skin, you can prevent and heal sun spots with the Chernoff Plastic Surgery team. With years of experience and a triple-board certified status, Dr. Chernoff knows exactly how to help you renew your confidence and rediscover your inner beauty despite sun damage or skin spots. If you’re ready to get started with treatment, call our office in Santa Rosa today!