What is Sun Damage?
Many people enjoy spending time outdoors in the sun, but prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause a range of adverse effects on your skin. These rays penetrate the skin’s outermost layer, damaging its DNA and triggering a series of harmful reactions. The immediate signs of sun damage include sunburn, redness, and premature aging, leading to fine lines, wrinkles, skin laxity, and uneven pigmentation. Over time, this damage can escalate to more serious concerns, such as precancerous lesions known as actinic keratoses and skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Sun damage commonly appears on areas of the skin that are exposed to the sun such as the forehead, cheeks, neck, chest, arms, upper back, and hands.
Sun Damage Treatment Options
If you are self-conscious about the appearance of your skin due to sun damage or would like to achieve a healthier appearance, UnionDerm offers an array of FDA-approved laser treatment options at all three of our locations. Treatments can be performed on the face or body and can improve the appearance, as well as the health of the skin. Lasers that treat sun damage can be customized based on the severity of the patient’s sun damage. These lasers are called “resurfacing” devices because they essentially replace damaged skin with more healthy tissue. Each of these options can also be combined with other treatments such as neurotoxins and fillers, to help restore other indications of facial aging. Some of the most common lasers that we use to treat sun damage are:
Non-Ablative Treatment Options
Non-ablative fractional lasers are innovative treatments used to resurface the skin, helping to improve its texture, tone, and overall appearance. These lasers work by creating thousands of tiny, controlled micro-injuries in the skin’s surface, without removing the entire top layer of skin (non-ablative). The micro-injuries stimulate the production of collagen, a crucial protein that provides structure and elasticity to the skin. As the skin repairs itself, it becomes firmer, smoother, and more youthful. Fractional non-ablative devices can be customized to minimize downtime and reduce the risk of complications.
Clear + Brilliant (Mild Sun Damage)
Clear + Brilliant laser treatments are ideal for addressing mild signs of sun damage. It works by creating many microscopic treatment zones in the upper layers of the skin, stimulating collagen production for improved skin look and feel. Treatment takes about 30 minutes to complete. The number of treatments needed will be tailored to your individual skin concerns. Results can last for months depending on your skin condition, age, and how well you protect your skin from the sun.
Fraxel re:store Dual (Moderate Sun Damage)
Fraxel re:store Dual is a non-ablative, fractional Erbium-based laser ideal for addressing moderate signs of sun damage. Because it is non-ablative, it delivers a precise wavelength of light below the skin’s surface, stimulating collagen production for safe and noticeable skin improvements. This treatment can reduce wrinkles, improve skin tone and texture, and more. Fraxel results can be long-lasting—though multiple treatments are sometimes needed.
PicoWay (Moderate Sun Damage)
PicoWay is a fractional laser used to address benign pigmented lesions such as sun spots, age spots, freckles, or hyperpigmentation on the face and body. It works by delivering ultra-short pulses of energy to break up pigmentation in the skin while also stimulating collagen for healthier skin. A series of treatments is often recommended for optimal results.
Ablative Laser Treatment Options
Ablative laser treatments are powerful and effective procedures used to address more severe forms of sun damage and other conditions. These treatments work by removing the outermost layer of skin in a precisely controlled manner to stimulate the production of new, healthier skin. Ablative laser treatments often require a longer recovery period compared to non-ablative procedures. Patients may experience redness, swelling, and peeling, which can last several days to a few weeks, depending on the laser used. It’s crucial to follow post-treatment care instructions, which may include using topical ointments and avoiding sun exposure.
Ablative laser treatments can provide dramatic results, but they are more invasive than non-ablative options. The choice between non-ablative and ablative lasers should be made in consultation with your dermatologist based on your specific skin concerns, recovery expectations, and risk tolerance.
Fraxel re:pair (Severe Sun Damage)
Sun exposure can also result in premature aging of the skin, which can often be improved with appropriate treatment. The Fraxel re:pair laser is ablative, meaning it targets the outer layer of skin while also heating the underlying skin to address more severe signs of aging such as deep wrinkles, age spots, areas of brown pigment, uneven skin texture and tone, and scars.
CO2RE CO2 Laser (Severe Sun Damage)
The CO2RE CO2 Laser is ideal for addressing sun damage, deep wrinkles, and scarring. This CO2 laser treats a fraction of the skin at a time, making precise micro-wounds. As these micro-wounds heal, the body naturally produces collagen and healthy skin cells for a rejuvenated glow. This laser device is also equipped with 6 different treatment modes, allowing for a personalized treatment to address your unique skin goals.
How Can I Maintain My Sun Damage Treatment Results?
To maintain your results, it is important to protect your skin from further sunburn or sun damage. This involves applying sun protection/sunscreen regularly, no matter the time of year. Wearing a wide-brimmed hat or protective clothing can also be beneficial. Not only will sunlight protection limit noticeable skin changes, but it can also protect you from other skin conditions and even skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Schedule a Consultation
UnionDerm is proud to offer a wide variety of treatment options for individualized treatment plans for treating sun damage. If you are interested in combating sun damage and treating associated skin conditions, please contact UnionDerm today.