Sun-Damaged Skin? Seek the Help of a Professional
Most people love the warmth of the sun. However, overexposure to the sun can significantly damage the skin. For instance, the heat of the sun can dry out the skin and deplete its natural supply of lubricating oils. Furthermore, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can result in burning and longstanding changes in the skin’s structure.
When it comes to sun-damaged skin, there are several types such as sunburn, dry skin, actinic keratosis and changes in the skin’s collagen. Each type has its own conditions and symptoms:
Dry skin — Skin that is continually exposed to the sun can gradually lose essential oils and moisture. The skin can appear flaky, dry and even prematurely wrinkled (even younger ages).
Sunburn — Sunburn is damaged skin that results from overexposure to UV radiation. Mild cases of sunburn may cause pain and reddening of the skin. Severe cases can produce large blisters or small fluid-filled bumps (vesicles).
Actinic keratosis — A small bump that has the texture of sandpaper. It can also be a small scaly patch of sun-damaged skin that is red, yellow, pink or brownish in color. The condition generally develops in areas of the skin that have had long-term exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Moreover, actinic keratosis is a “red flag” of increased risk of skin cancer. In truth, approximately 10% to 15% of actinic keratoses ultimately changes into squamous cell cancers of the skin. Moreover, unlike a suntan or sunburn, actinic keratosis does not go away unless treated. There are a variety of treatments such as the area be chemically treated or frozen.
Long-term changes in the skin’s collagen — Long-term changes include actinic purpura (bleeding from delicate blood vessels underneath the skin surface) and photoaging (premature aging of the skin due to sun exposure).
Throughout a lifetime, recurrent incidents of sunburn and unprotected sun exposure can amplify the risk of malignant melanoma and other forms of skin cancer.
Generally, if you have fair skin and light eyes then you are at higher risk of skin cancers and skin damage. This is because fairer skin is composed of less melanin (dark pigment). Basically, melanin helps to protect the skin from the effects of UV radiation.
Identifying Sun-Damaged Skin
For the most part, a physician or specialist can diagnose sun-damaged skin by examining the area. In addition, a biopsy can be done to rule out skin cancer in the case of actinic keratosis. Simply, in the event of a biopsy, a tiny piece of skin is removed and examined in a laboratory.
However, not just light skin people are at risk. According to the Mayo Clinic, people with medium or dark complexions can experience sun damage. In fact, many dark skinned individuals often have wrinkles or irregular pigmentation due to UV ray overexposure.
Moreover, there are other symptoms and conditions of sun-damaged skin such as solar lentigines on the forehead and back, labial lentigo, melisma, poikiloderma and lentigo maligna. Each condition involves mild to severe damage to the skin.
Procedures for sun-damaged skin greatly vary on the condition. Always consult a professional if you suspect you have sun-damaged skin. Some of the most effective treatments and procedures include:
Biopsies or surgical excisions – for all suspicious moles and lesions
Microdermabrasion – effective for all skin types, improves scars like acne or pox marks. Has less down time than dermabrasion.
Chemical peels – exfoliates the skin making it smoother and less wrinkled by stimulating collagen production.
Obagi blue peel (TCA) – helps peel out wrinkles and acne-scarred skin and replaces it with healthy skin. One or more peels may be needed, depending on the damage.
Eye and lip peels – specifically designed for the sensitive and fragile eye area. Helps reduce dark circles and pigmentation issues.
Jessner peel – the Jessner peel is a stronger peel that helps improve and heal skin that has been damaged. It may help smooth wrinkles, reduce scarring, improve overall completion, reduce large pores and lighten areas of skin discoloration.
Glytone (Alpha Hydroxy) – this skin therapy combines pharmaceutical and cosmetic proficiency. It treats major skin problems by revitalizing, repairing and protecting the skin. It is known for its high free acid value.
Beta Lift – this peel uses salicylic acid to treat the face. It works best with oily skin and is particularly beneficial for improving acne and “lifting” blackheads. The peel also helps decrease skin pigmentation and comes in different strengths depending on severity of condition.
Johns Creek Dermatology
Never hesitate to seek a professional if at any time you suspect that you have sun-damage skin. At Johns Creek Dermatology, Dr. Shereen Timani offers testing such as biopsies and surgical excisions for suspicious lesions and moles. In addition, there are other successful skin treatments offered, depending on the condition. As well, the knowledgeable staff and Dr. Shereen Timani at Johns Creek Dermatology can address any questions or concerns that you have about skin conditions and sun-damaged skin.
Currently, Johns Creek Dermatology services Cumming, GA and the surrounding areas: Alpharetta, Duluth, Dawsonville, Roswell and Suwanee.