Sun damage is done, now here’s how to fix

Ghazoul is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and isdDirector of plastic surgery at Fisher-Titus Medical Center \. S
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Ghazoul is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and isdDirector of plastic surgery at Fisher-Titus Medical Center \. She specializes in aesthetic and plastic surgery. Her staff can be reached at 419-668-7010.

As the weather gets warmer, many people will head outside to enjoy outdoor activities. And, with warm weather and fun, comes the sun.

Over time sun can damage the skin. While skin cancer is the most dangerous effect of the sun, there are other harmful consequences, such as fine lines, wrinkles and sun spots. You need to make sure that you protect your skin from sun damage.

Minimize damage and keep your skin healthy with these precautions:

• Avoid exposure to the sun and always wear sunscreen on your face and body. Follow the two-finger rule for applying sunscreen. Put a line of sunscreen one-eighth of an inch wide down the length of your index and middle fingers. This amount is enough to cover the entire face, ears, neck, throat and upper chest. Always remember to re-apply at least every four hours or immediately after swimming or vigorous activity.

• Smoking decreases blood flow to the skin causing winkles, dehydration and dryness. So, stop smoking.

• Drink plenty of water — at least eight full glasses daily. Water helps hydrate the skin and keep it full and plump, improving overall circulation to the skin’s surface.

• As part of your skin care regimen, use retinoic acid/Retin-A every night. It improves the appearance of wrinkles and aging on the skin, giving it a softer, smoother texture. Some Retin-A products must be prescribed by a physician, but many over-the-counter products have retinol, which is a form of vitamin A.

• Get a daily dose of topical vitamin C as part of your morning routine. Vitamin C is not only hydrating and plumping, but it also rebuilds baby collagen, helps repair fine lines and wrinkles and evens out the skin tone. Most importantly, it’s an antioxidant, which protects your skin from environmental damage that causes wrinkling.

• Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize. Use a moisturizer every morning to provide proper hydration. We suggest one that includes an SPF to protect your fact from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, which break down collagen, causing wrinkles.

 But what happens once the damage has occurred? There are minimally invasive procedures that can repair the effects of environmental damage.

Laser resurfacing

Laser resurfacing is used for fine lines, especially around the eyes, vertical lines around the mouth; facial scars caused by injury or accident; scars caused by acne; areas of uneven pigmentation, such as age spots; and lines on the cheeks caused by sun damage.

During laser resurfacing, a beam of laser energy vaporizes the upper layers of damaged skin with accurate precision. As new cells form during the healing process, a smoother, tighter, younger-looking skin surface appears.

After the surgery, the skin will be bright pink to red in color for the first three weeks. This is a positive sign that healing is progressing and a new layer of collagen is forming.

Dermal Fillers

In youth, two important substances, collagen and hyaluronic acid, keep skin looking smooth and supple. Collagen is a protein that provides the skin with structural support. Hyaluronic acid is a natural sugar found in all living cells that attracts and binds water, hydrating skin and giving it volume.

With time, sunlight and other factors, collagen and hyaluronic acid in skin diminish causing the loss of structure and volume, and the appearance of unwelcome lines and wrinkles. An emerging trend is to temporarily replace this loss by using cosmetic dermal fillers to smooth away unwanted lines and wrinkles.

Dermal fillers, such as restylane, collagen and botox, are injected directly into the skin in tiny amounts by an ultra-fine needle. There is minimal discomfort. The results are immediate and last about three to five months.