Sun damage to the skin is cumulative, gathering force over many years. This is especially true with our complexion, which literally faces the searing power of ultraviolet rays whenever we venture out into the world unprotected by sunscreen.
Eventually, vibrant, youthful skin shows the signs of injury, with obvious changes in tone and texture. Below, experienced Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Craft reviews the risks of excessive sun exposure, and suggests several noninvasive cosmetic options for reversing the damage.
Dry, leathery, wrinkled skin can be the result of a lifetime devotion to tanning, a love of the outdoors, or just a simple lack of attention to the power of the sun and ways to limit exposure.
A tan is essentially your skin’s way of protecting itself from ultraviolet rays. The more you tan, the more damage is being done to dermal structures. The harm can be subtle at first, but ultimately a smooth complexion begins to develop fine lines and wrinkles. At that point, significant damage has already been done.
The best solution to the effects of sun damage is prevention. Wearing sunscreen and broad-brimmed hats, finding shade, and avoiding too much exposure at times when the sun’s rays are the most intense, will preserve your youthful look far into middle age, and beyond.
Once the signs of sun damage appear, Dr. Craft may recommend several noninvasive treatments that can repair your skin and dramatically improve your complexion. Microdermabrasion is one approach that has been used for decades. “Abrading” your skin triggers a healing response that promotes resurfacing and production of collagen, the natural protein that gives skin its firmness, flexibility and glow.
Laser resurfacing uses this same principle, but with updated technology. In general, laser skin resurfacing erases imperfections, softens fine lines and renews the skin. When it comes to sun damage, it has the added advantage of improving hyperpigmentation or discoloration caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays.
The instrument used is a fractional laser, meaning that it disrupts a portion of cells while leaving others untouched. This has the effect of reducing recovery time, while still performing the essential function of removing the thin outer layer of the skin and agitating deeper layers of tissue.
If you would like more information on preventing or repairing sun damage, schedule a personal consultation with experienced Miami plastic surgeon Dr. Christopher Craft today.