Sun Damage

Identification

The sun can be your best friend or worst enemy. Sunlight can provide your skin with Vitamin D and can even help with bad acne. Still, it is important to watch for overexposure to the sun. Obvious sun damage includes sunburns and skin cancer, but sun damage can also include thick, dry skin, wrinkles, blotches and discoloration, and those freckly sunspots. Sunspots are not unrelated to age spots or liver spots, high exposure to the sun can make us age prematurely. Suntans are essentially controlled radiation burns; tans are actually something from which your body needs to heal. Sunspots happen when your body can no longer heal itself properly. What remains from the tan are small brown spots. Fortunately, sunspot removal is possible. Remember just because there are great aesthetic procedures to correct sun damage available, it doesn’t give you a license to go gallivanting in the sun. Always wear a hat and use sunscreen to protect yourself.

Facts about Freckles

Ephelides, otherwise known as freckles, are harmless tan spots of melanin, common in people of fair complexion. Freckles are genetic in nature and can be triggered by exposure to sunlight. That’s why your freckles usually appear in the summertime and fade in the winter. Extremely pale or fair-skinned people do not produce enough melanin to protect themselves from the sun, and therefore produce these dark pigmented spots as a result. Freckles are not completely unrelated to age spots, as it is the sun damage that is creating spotting. Some people learn to live with or even love their freckles. However, if you’ve ever been taunted with names like “Freckle Face”, you might find it hard to find your freckles cute or sexy. Maybe, you’re just tired of being known as the “freckly one”, and would like people to remember you for you, rather than those little brown spots. While, freckles for many people eventually fade with age, it is possible to get rid of freckles today. For a long time, freckles were thought of as being too small to treat, but aesthetic lasers are changing that. Your freckles can be removed or significantly reduced with treatments like IPL Photofacial, Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion, and skin bleaching.

Avoiding Skin Damage

Preventing Skin Damage

Prevention

Over the past several years the availability of broad-spectrum sunscreens, along with the realization by people in our society of the importance of sunscreen, has been a huge advance. Please see our video related to the sun. ->

Treatment

There’s no reason to look old before your time. Several non-surgical cosmetic treatments can successfully remove sunspots including Chemical Peels, Microdermabrasion, IPL Photofacial, and Thermage. Chemical Peels use intensive exfoliation techniques to remove sunspots. A solution is applied to literally peel the top layer of sun-damaged skin off. New, healthier skin can grow back.

The Unique Power of Lactic Acid

Our Lactic peels are best for fading pigmentation and pulling moisture into the skin. The Lactic acid is a natural humectant that occurs naturally in the skin, which means it is able to pull moisture from the air and hold it in the skin. If you have never used a chemical peel before, the Lactic/50 is what we would recommend starting with. When you first start, apply it to a test area for 1 minute and then rinse off. Wait 24 hours, and if no problems occur you can apply the peel. We recommend applying once a week at first, and adjust according to your individual skin sensitivity.

Skin Laboratory Products for Freckled Skin

Patience Treating freckles or pigmentation is a gradual process. You should start to notice some changes within a couple weeks, but the progress is incremental. For pigmentation problems, we would recommend the Lactic/50 peel or the Glycolac/60. Both of these Skin Laboratory products are safe for use on dark skin, and are effective against hyperpigmentation. The Glycolac/60 also contains Glycolic acid, which helps to stimulate collagen in the epidermis causing a reduction in lines and fuller skin. By using the combination, you can get both in one treatment.

“You should never apply a chemical peel to sunburned or reddened skin because of the potential skin irritation.”

When you first start, apply it to a test area for 1 minute and then rinse off. Wait 24 hours, and if no problems exist, occur you can apply the peel. Apply once a week at first, and adjust according to your individual skin sensitivity. Prevention is the best cure. Please remember that pigmentation can only be effectively treated if you use a sunscreen. Sun exposure combined with other factors is the primary cause of sunspots, and no treatment will help without good sun protection and avoidance. Any sunscreen with SPF 30+ will be sufficient to protect your skin from overexposure to the sun.

Chemical Peels

For freckle elimination, either a superficial or a deep chemical peel can achieve removal or significant lightening of your unwanted spots. A more superficial chemical peel like a glycolic peel can remove freckles, but it may take many repeated treatments to see results. A deeper, highly concentrated peel can get rid of all of your freckles at once, but the recovery process is much longer and more painful.

Bleaching

“Never allow chemical bleach, like the ones used for laundry, to come in contact with your body!”

Do not confuse bleaching with bleach. Never allow chemical bleach, like the ones used for laundry, to come in contact with your body! The bleaching (whitening) products discussed bellow are designed for use on the skin. There are several over-the-counter and prescription skin bleaching agents available today. FYI, topical creams don’t work for everyone. They can definitely lighten freckles, but they will also lighten all the skin around the freckles. Bleaching can also cause redness, drying, and peeling. An inexpensive and safer alternative to store bought bleaching products is lemon juice. In this case, the old wives’ tale is true; a dab of lemon juice can lessen a freckle’s appearance. While not as powerful or effective as the “bleachers”, lemon juice on freckles is a safe and easy remedy to try.