by Erfani, Sadi
Sun Damage Treatment
Photo Facial and Laser Skin Resurfacing
By Sadi Erfani, MD
Are you considering an effective sun damage treatment now from too much fun outdoors? The days of Summer are soon coming to an end. The time has come to fix over exposure and get your skin ready for the Holidays. No matter how responsible we may have been in protecting ourselves, the sun can leave visible traces on our skin with tell-tale signs of over exposure such as:
Fortunately, having a sun damage treatment performed at a qualified plastic surgery facility will improve and repair one’s appearance from over exposure. Two extremely popular technologies proven to deliver fabulous results are Photo Facial Therapy or Intense Pulsed-Light (IPL) and Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing. Both are widely used for sun damage treatment, yet each work at different levels to deliver different results.
Photo Facial Therapy
Photo Facial Therapy utilizes specialized bursts of light wave technology that pulses onto the skin. IPL has been in use well over a decade and is proven to be effective against sun induced skin discoloration for problems like:
• Pigmented Lesions
• Hyperpigmentation – Areas of irregularly darkened skin
• Melasma (Patchy skin discoloration)
• Solar Lentigines (Freckles)
• Burn Erythema (Redness from a burn)
• Telangiectasia (Small facial veins)
• Red Spots (Hemangiomas)
• Redness and Flushing
Intense Pulsed-Light therapy is a sun damage treatment commonly used to treat the face, neck, chest and hands. IPL is a non-invasive procedure that takes about 20 minutes to complete with no apparent signs of the procedure and little discomfort. The downtime is minimal. Clients can go about their normal day with the possibility of applying makeup afterwards.
Often, mild results are visible in the first visit. However, depending on what skin areas are being treated, and how damaged the skin is, the best results are usually achieved within four to six sessions. IPL sessions are usually scheduled every two to three weeks of each other to adequately promote skin renewal. The results of Intense Pulsed-Light can last up to a year or more depending on the client’s continued habits to sun exposure.
IPL is also used in smoothing out dry roughened skin, but is not effective on wrinkling caused by sun damage.
Laser Skin Resurfacing
Using Laser Skin Resurfacing as a sun damage treatment has a dramatic effect on:
• Wrinkling around the mouth
• Crow’s feet around the eyes
• Pigmented skin
• Large pores
This type of laser treatment works by creating thousands of microscopic channels that leaves areas of healthy skin around each channel, provoking the natural healing process upon the body. Corrected areas from this proven sun damage treatment benefits from the production of new collagen. This reaction plumps up the skin while diminishing the wrinkles and softening the fine lines and scars
Laser Resurfacing is a relatively quick with the procedural time lasting from only a few minutes to thirty minutes depending on the depth and area size treated.
Unlike Photo Facial treatment, where anesthesia is not required, laser skin resurfacing sedation is an option to consider as discomfort is likely. Swelling and redness will follow, but will subside within hours. However, pink or red treated areas may last several weeks from this aggressive sun damage treatment. Skin discoloration and irregularities begin to improve greatly. Progress will continue as the skin heals. Further sessions may be required to produce the best results.
With laser skin resurfacing, clients can enjoy long lasting results depending on the number of treatments, and aftercare.
Photo Facial therapy and Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing are not mutually exclusive. Clients often start with one sun damage corrective therapy and then move to the other. Both provide dramatic benefits when used together.
It is important to note that newly tan skin or sunburn exposure cannot be optimally treated until receded. Usually a pre-laser treatment of Hydroquinone and Tretinoin Cream is required. Consulting with a qualified plastic surgeon will provide the best sun damage treatment answers for maintaining your skin’s health and youthful appearance as we head into the last part of the year.