Sun Damage Treatment

What is the best treatment for sun damage?

Frequent exposure to ultraviolet rays (UV) causes skin damage, including wrinkles, sun spots, and risk of melanoma and other skin cancer. Too much time in the sun or other means of UV ray exposure can make a person look far older than their actual age. The most important thing to do is to see a dermatologist if sun damage is suspected.

Sunburn is an extremely common side effect of exposure to UV rays. There are a few ways to combat sun damage once sunburn occurs. Protect the sunburn by wearing sunscreen and staying out of the sun while the skin heals. The enzymes in the sunscreen may counteract the damaging effects of sun damage. If UV ray exposure causes dry skin, gentle exfoliation and then moisturizing may help combat the dryness. It is also recommended to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.

Constant UV ray exposure can also cause wrinkles. Methods to diminish wrinkles may include: beta-carotene, retinoids, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and/or laser therapy. Beta-carotene can be found in fruits and vegetables or in an additional supplement. Retinoids, or collagen boosters, are typically found as creams or serums and can be medically prescribed or found over the counter in less potent amounts. Chemical peels can be creams or a dermal procedure, and microdermabrasion uses tiny grains to exfoliate the skin. Laser therapy uses pulses of concentrated light. All three of these methods remove the outer, damaged layer of skin.

People with too much sun exposure are more susceptible to sunspots, or “liver spots.” Another form of sun damage is melasma that manifests in splotchy gray or brown patches. In both of these cases, UV ray exposure can cause the body to produce too much melatonin in concentrated areas. To fight both of these conditions, methods include skin-lightening creams, retinoids, chemical peels, microdermabrasion, and laser therapy. Cryotherapy, or freezing with liquid nitrogen, is another recommended method.

Actinic keratosis (AK) is crusty skin patches that could lead to skin cancer. Methods for fighting other types of sun damage are recommended, and additional methods can include: prescription creams and photodynamic therapy. Photodynamic therapy involves taking a medication that increases skin sensitivity and then being exposed to a strong red or blue light.

Can sun damage be reversed?

Sun damage may be reversed if any or all of the following methods are implemented. Daily wear of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher allows skin the time to heal and, in some cases, repair the sun damage. Exfoliation can combat the dry skin caused by sun damage. Skin lightener can help reduce the dark and uneven coloration that comes from sun damage. Moisturize the skin with cream or serums to keep affected areas hydrated. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) helps produce collagen and diminish fine lines and wrinkles. For best results in reversing the effects of sun damage, a visit to the dermatologist is key. Specialists can employ use of additional procedures like photodynamic therapy and/or intense pulsed light.

What is Fraxel laser treatment for sun damage?

Fraxel laser treatment fight signs of aging from sun damage. Dermatologists use this FDA-approved laser procedure to make micro-injuries in the skin which then allows the skin to produce new collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid to heal the micro-injuries. The result is healthier, plumper, younger looking skin. All skin types can be successfully treated with Fraxel laser treatment, and patients are advised to stay out of the sun before and after treatment. Fraxel lasers are regarded as more precise and consistent with results than other laser treatments.

Is Fraxel laser painful?

Because the Fraxel procedure involves creating micro-injuries in the skin in order to rebuild new, unblemished skin, Fraxel laser treatment is considered to be one of the most intense and painful skin rejuvenation treatments. However, Fraxel laser treatment is also considered one of the most effective skin rejuvenation treatments, so many patients find the pain, while an undesired side effect, worth it in achieving healthy, renewed skin. Once the laser procedure is complete, recovery time is fairly brief, but most patients require a minimum of five visits for best results.

What can I expect after Fraxel laser treatment?

On the day of treatment, the patient’s face will feel hot and will require applying ice packs in twenty-minute increments and keeping their head elevated when lying down to reduce swelling after Fraxel. Patients may see a visible criss-cross pattern that traces the path of the laser treatment. Patients are advised to keep themselves hydrated by drinking plenty of water and staying away from caffeine and alcohol. The skin may feel tight or itchy, so a gentle, non-comedogenic moisturizer is advised. Patients should keep their skin well protected by wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF-30.

Up to a week after treatment, Fraxel laser recovery time involves daily face cleansing with warm water and avoiding harsh products, including exfoliants, Benzoyl Peroxide, Salicylic Acid, and Glycolic. Wearing sunscreen is a must, even if patients are not in direct sunlight. Skin may continue to feel dry, tight, and itchy, so patients are advised to moisturize their skin with a gentle product up to three times a day. Cold compresses will not accelerate Fraxel healing time, but they will aide in alleviating discomfort and pain, so patients should feel free to apply compresses to affected areas as often as desired.

Patients will most likely experience swelling under the eyes and around the mouth and may choose to take over-the-counter anti-inflammatories to reduce swelling. Patients also may notice tiny white bumps all over the skin. This is normal, and the bumps will go away. Patients should not attempt to get rid of the bumps themselves. Skin after treatment is extremely sensitive, so any sort of attempt to self treat the bumps, like picking or scratching, will most likely cause other complications.

What are the side effects of Fraxel laser treatment?

While Fraxel laser treatment is a safe and effective procedure, like all medical procedures, there are various risks involved. The most common side effects of laser treatment include redness, swelling, and itching. Redness may last several months, and the severity of redness will depend on other skin conditions the patient may have. During recovery, patients will apply thick creams and bandages which will affect their pores, so patients may discover an increase in acne.

Bacterial, viral, or fungal Infection is another potential side effect, most likely resulting in a herpes virus flareup, especially is the herpes virus is already present but dormant in the patient. Patients may also experience changes in skin color; they may notice their skin tone grow darker in the form of hyperpigmentation or become lighter in the form of hypopigmentation. People with darker skin, in general, are most susceptible to hyperpigmentation, and retinoic acid or glycolic acid may help combat hyperpigmentation. Patients may also notice scarring or blistering.

What is PiQo4 laser treatment?

PiQo4 laser is the most powerful laser treatment for tattoo removal. This multi-wavelength nanosecond and picosecond laser is also used to treat melasma, skin pigmentation, and rejuvenating skin. PiQo4 is an acronym that stands for the different features of the laser. The Pi is short is for picosecond, the length of time of each laser pulse involves. The Q stands for Q-switched, which allows the laser to switch back and forth from picosecond to nanosecond. The 4 represents the number of different wavelengths used in this procedure.

PiQo4 laser treatment is considered to have the highest pulse energy in comparison with other nanosecond and picosecond laser treatments. PiQo4 laser has the largest spot size available, which reduces scarring. The PiQo4 laser beam’s use of homogenous beam profile treats a larger surface area at once and produces more even and consistent results.

While PiQo4 is commonly used for tattoo removal, this laser treatment is also recommended for skin pigmentation. With four wavelengths available, PiQo4 laser can treat the affected areas, penetrating to different depths. Picosecond laser treatments are known for more concentrated pulses while using less heat than other laser treatments, and PiQo4 is especially suitable for olive or darker skin types.

Can a dermatologist remove dark spots?

While dark spots on the skin are not a severe issue that requires immediate removal, many people may want to seek treatment for cosmetic or other reasons. Patients can use creams to treat dark spots, especially if the dark spots on the skin are not as severe. Dermatologists can prescribe skin-lightening creams that prevent skin from producing melanin, or dark pigmentation.

Creams may not be as effective as dermal procedures. Dermatologists may implement treatments such as laser treatment, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, or use of liquid nitrogen known as cryotherapy.

Which is the best laser treatment for melasma?

Patients may seek laser or light treatment for melasma as an alternative option to topical agents or chemical peels. Physicians typically use one of five categories of melasma treatments. Intense pulsed therapy, or IPL therapy, a pulsed light treatment that uses a spectrum of wavelengths to target both dermal and epidermal melasma. Because the head is larger than other treatment devices, IPL therapy is better than laser treatments to treat sizably large affected areas.

Q-switched laser therapy implements the use of switching between nanosecond a picosecond pulse duration therapy. This laser treatment is most effective for tattoo and birthmark removal but is not as effective in treating melasma. In fact, there’s a greater risk of Q-switched therapy causing hyperpigmentation. However, there is a new type of the Q-switched laser, low fluence or subthermolytic Q-switched treatment, that is more effective and causes less hyperpigmentation.

Fractional resurfacing is another treatment option. Nonablative fractionated resurfacing laser treatment mixes treated areas with untreated areas, lessening inflammation and risk of scarring. This treatment also seems to have more lasting results than either IPL or Q-switched laser therapy. Nonablative fractionated resurfacing laser treatment is best for blending melasma with the unaffected areas, and it also can treat a wide variety of skin types. Ablative fractionated resurfacing lasers implements use of CO2 lasers that is absorbed by water in skin cells. This treatment reduces the amount of epidermal injury and lessens the risk of hyperpigmentation.

Picosecond lasers are a new product, and there is limited information about the laser treatment. Picosecond lasers consist of shorter duration pulses that theoretically implement less thermal damage, so picosecond laser treatment may be a suitable treatment for patients with melasma.

How do you prevent melasma from spreading?

The best form of melasma prevention is protecting skin from sun exposure. Dermatologists recommend the daily wear of sunscreen with SPF of 30 or higher. Outdoor hats with broad rims are also an effective form of skin protection. For skincare, patients should use gentle products to prevent skin irritation and potentially exacerbate melasma.

What is the difference between brown spots, melasma & sun damage?

Brown spots on skin can consist of a variety of types of skin markings. One type of brown spot is melasma which is a result of hormonal changes within the body. Melasma typically occurs in brown to gray-brown patches. Sun damage can manifest in sunspots, which are brown spots resulting in overexposure to the sun and overproduction of melanin. Sunspots are harmless and noncancerous, but many patients seek treatment for sunspots for cosmetic purposes.

If you are seeking sun damage treatment in NYC, our staff at Sobel Skin offers honest, human, forward-looking care to help you be your best, most refreshed self. Call 212.288.0060 fill out a form in the right-hand column of this page to book an initial treatment consultation with Dr. Sobel.