Surviving summer: How do I fix existing sun damage?

In partnership with SA’s top medical aesthetic companies

By now you must have heard how important sunscreen is to combat sun damage and to lower your risk of developing deadly skin cancer. 

But what about those carefree times in your early twenties where you spent every summer holiday tanning? Or what about those times where you still thought sunscreen is only meant for the beach?

In our previous features we talked about the most common myths regarding sunscreen, and how to choose a sunscreen that is right for your skin tone.

Now, we will discuss the methods to undo the damage, and to prevent further sun damage.

What is sun damage?

The damage done to your skin in your early twenties unfortunately only tend to show up later in your thirties and early forties in the form of pigmentation and wrinkles.

You might also notice a change in the texture of your skin – this is because of coarseness and enlarged pores. You may notice that your skin tone is no longer as luminous as it once was – you may notice that your skin is more red or sallow. You may also notice more prominent lines around your eyes.

While these changes may make us feel self-aware, it’s not only about appearance – your skin is damaged and struggles to function as well as it should.

Luckily, this doesn’t mean that you can’t reverse some of the damage and start taking preventative measures as soon as possible.

How will my sun damage be treated?

If you decide to consult Skin Renewal for an in-office treatment, your sun damage will be treated depending on your specific concern. Sun damage can be classified as follow:

  1. Mild (age 28-35 years): Few wrinkles, no actinic keratosis (tender red dry spots), no full coverage make-up needed.
  2. Moderate (age 35-50 years): Early wrinkling, sallow complexion with early actinic keratosis
    (tender red dry spots), requires a bit of make-up to cover up flaws.
  3. Advanced (age 50-60 years): Persistent wrinkling, discoloration of the skin with telangiectasia and actinic keratosis( tender red dry spots), always wears make-up.
  4. Severe (age 65-70 years): Severe wrinkling, photo ageing, gravitational and dynamic forces affecting skin, actinic keratosis ( tender red dry spots) with or without skin cancer, wears makeup with poor coverage.

Here are a few methods that will be used:

In-office treatments:

Fractional laser works well for destroying old, damaged cells and stimulating the skin to produce new, healthy collagen to restore your previous elasticity and plumpness.

Not only does it help to treat severe sun damage, brown spots, course skin tone and wrinkles, but it can also help to treat pre-cancerous lesions.

The newest version is the Fraxel® DUAL laser , which uses deep-penetrating laser, as well as more superficial laser (or both), therefore the name “dual”

Then there are also peels that can help with the texture of skin. Skin Renewal’s 3D peel will help target course texture and overall skin tone.

As every case differs, you will be able to receive a tailored programme to target your specific concerns. Some conditions such as deeply ingrained wrinkles and badly damaged skin can be challenging to treat and might require a combination of treatments which can include dermal filler and other injectables as well as laser and light resurfacing treatments. Several sessions may be required for the best results.

Topical treatments at home:

You also have an option of products to apply at home to maintain your skin. These include AHAs, retinol’s, growth factors and peptides. A consultant at Skin Renewal will be able to guide you on what to purchase and use.

Protecting your skin against further sun damage

Halt sun damage by choosing the correct sunscreen for your skin type and remember to apply it daily, not only when you know you will be outside.

When you know you will be exposed to more sun, you can also take an oral supplement such as the Heliocare 360 capsules – remember that this is only to aid extra sun protection and should not be used in place of a good sunscreen!
To find out more about protection against the sun or to find suitable treatment solutions after the damage has been done, visit Skin Renewal on www.skinrenewal.co.za or contact 0861 SKIN SA (754 672).

Take the quick Beyond Beauty Survey and you could win a R2 000 Skin Renewal voucher to spend in our online store, with free delivery within South Africa. T&Cs apply.

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