Can you “heal” the effects of sun damage from the past?
This is a good question. The answer is that much of sun damage CAN be undone, but it takes a little time and effort. The older you are when you start, the more effort it takes. Makes sense though.
Here’s a good sequence to think about addressing this in!
- Stop going in the sun unprotected! I know this sounds really redundant, but you wouldn’t believe how many patients we see who want to repair… but without changing any of their bad habits. It’s like trying to lose weight without exercising and changing what you eat. It doesn’t work.
- Hats. Really take seriously hats always and wide brim hats for most of that.
- Clothing. Driving gloves, surfer shirts for swimming, long sleeves, and keep a scarf or something in the car to cover your left arm when needed, a pair of thin tights when snorkeling, etc.
- Sunscreen. Consider the new ISDIN sunscreen that also has DNA repair enzymes. Look for high zinc 10-20% for regular use. Double sunscreen for intense sun, and use water resistant when in the water.
These repair the outer layer of skin and over time possibly some of the higher part of the deeper layer (dermis). You’ll need a good derm center for these or an experienced aesthetician. You gotta be out of the sun to do these.
- Light peels in a series.
- Regular microdermabrasions
- Microneedling – don’t do more than 3 or too aggressively.
- Excellent skincare repair products (see our shop)
- Lasers like the IPL or Clear & Brilliant (basically 1/2 of a Fraxel)
These really need to be done by experts in expert centers, because you will be much less likely to have a complication. Complications of these can lead to scarring, infections, and pigment problem all of which may be permanent.
- Deeper Erbium laser – heals much like a CO2
- Carbon Dioxide laser (CO2) – goes the deepest and you should continue to see improvements up to about 5 treatments. After that, ask your doctor about a maintenance schedule. Our office does a 1/2 treatments once every 1-2 years for patients.
- Deep TCA peels. Can be excellent if your provider is very experienced.
- Deep phenol peels. Not recommended anymore due the odd texture and color after these peels.
Hope this helps,