Yes, You Can Reverse Sun Damage
Enjoy the summer sun? Time to undo the damage!
The kids are back to school, life returns to normal as summer draws to an end. As your beautiful tan fades remorse sets in. Maybe you should have slathered on that sunscreen a bit more often. Or perhaps falling asleep on the beach was not such a great idea.
No worries, Captain Dermatology comes to the rescue! Oh, how I wish it were that easy. You cannot unfortunately magically remove the consequences of sun or tanning bed exposure. You can however significantly reduce the damage and possibly even reduce the risk of developing skin cancer in the future.
There are two sides to sundamage. One is cosmetic: wrinkles, freckling, age spots, broken blood vessels, and rough patches. The other side is melanoma, skin cancer and precancers. Depending on genetics, skin type and luck of the draw most people show cosmetic changes before cancer changes, but not always. Once there is significant cosmetic damage I recommend treating the cosmetic AND the potential skin cancers. Good news: science has given us treatments that improve both sides of sundamage.
One treatment is IPL, intense pulse light. This is a 30 to 60 minute light based treatment that focuses on the freckling, brown spots and broken blood vessels from excess sun exposure. Unfortunately, IPL alone does not reduce skin cancer risk or treat precancers. So we “supercharge” the IPL treatment by pretreating the skin with a topical medication called Levulan and then perform the IPL to achieve a much better cosmetic result but more importantly to reduce precancers. We call this PDT (photodynamic therapy). PDT is usually done twice about a month apart. Important to know that there will be about 4 or 5 days of sunburn reaction after each treatment and patients are required to be out of the sun for the first 48 hours.
Fraxel Dual is a newer procedure that gives a great result on blotchy photoaged skin but also reduces wrinkling more effectively than PDT. Fraxel Dual is a double laser system that gives two treatments in one. With 3 to 5 treatments a month apart you can regain your youthful healthy skin.
Don’t want to have multiple treatments but want significant and sometimes dramatic improvements in your skin? Active FX Fractional CO2 laser may be for you. Years of sundamage can be wiped out, wrinkles reduced and even skin tightening achieved. Be ready for at least a week of recovery with this one.
Summer’s over, get serious about your skin and check into the best approach for you.
PS: Sunbed addicts respond well to these treatments also.