What is it?
Sun damaged skin appears uneven, blotchy, dull and crepey. Brown uneven pigmentation is the result of chronic exposure to sun over many years, and often looks like a “permanent tan” in uneven patches. It can take on a rough or leathery appearance in later years, and wrinkles appear faster on sun damaged skin because UV radiation destroys collagen. The neck is particularly vulnerable to sun damage effects because it is thinner and more vulnerable than the face, and is often neglected from sunscreen protection. The skin can become blotchy, have bumpy texture like chicken skin (elastosis occurs when UV radiation destroys collagen and creates a type of “scarring”), and appear crepey like tissue paper. Fortunately there are ways to reverse and prevent further sun damage.
Learning how to minimize direct and indirect UV exposure is the key to preventing accelerated ageing effects of the skin from sun. A daily sunscreen, wearing hats or having the face/neck shaded as much as possible when doing outdoor activites, and finding UV protecting fabrics for arms and legs are helpful strategies. Cigarette smoke also kills collagen and restricts blood supply to the skin, so smoking accelerates the ageing process as well.
Skincare is the single most important factor in helping to reverse sun damage. Foremost is the prevention of further damage by protecting the skin from daily UV radiation, a high zinc content sunscreen that is worn as a daily moisturizer for the face, neck and other areas chronically exposed during daylight hours should become a habit for anyone seeking skin rejuvenation. Retinoic acid, antioxidants such as Vitamin C, E, turmeric and other topical agents that help to shed dead skin cells, renew collagen, and normalize pigmentation can be incorporated into a simple yet effective skincare regimen.
|Treatment Option||Key Benefit||Average Number of Treatments||Amount of Downtime||Comfort Measures|
|Fotofacial, BBL (intense pulsed light)||Makes more even skintone. Targets brown spots very effectively, also fades redness from rosacea, spider veins||3-5 sessions done monthly||Little to none. Freckles darken for 2-3 days then slough off. Return to work same day||Topical anesthetic.|
|Fraxel Dual 1927||Dramatic fading of brown pigmentation sun damage||1-2 sessions |
Can be done monthly
|Pink x 1-2 days. Brown pigment darkens and peels by day 5||Topical anesthetic|
|Fraxel Restore 1550||Improves deeper pigment sun damage and elastosis of neck and chest||4, done 2-3 months apart||3 days of redness and swelling, exfoliation by day 5-6||Topical anesthetic, oral sedation and analgesics advised|
|Sciton Erbium microlaserpeel||Very precise peeling of very superficial layers of skin. Brightens and smooths skin surface, more even tone||1-2 for pigment improvement||1-2 days. Feels and looks like a sunburn, apply ointment during recovery period.||Topical anesthetic optional, cold air can be used instead of numbing cream|
|Sciton Halo Hybrid Laser||Evens blotchy pigment, improves pore size||1-2||Gentle peel has no recovery time. Moderate peels have 1-2 days of redness, possibly 1-3 days of swelling||Topical anesthetic|