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Reversing Summer Sun Damage

Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living, October 2010
By Ashley Raney, RN, Ajuva Medical Spa

Summer has flown by, way too quickly for my taste. While the long, warm sunny days have done wonders for your mood, they probably have been not so kind on your skin. You may generally be very conscientious about sun exposure, but wasn't there that one weekend when you couldn't resist working on a sexy tan, or how about that week when it was so hot and muggy that just the thought of applying sunscreen made you shudder.

Let's face it, October is the time to take a long, hard look in the mirror and acknowledge that you may have to do some repair work here and there. The bad news is sun damage occurs quite easily and effortlessly; on the way to the subway, sitting in an outdoor cafe or simply because you forgot to reapply sunscreen often enough. The good news is that these days, thanks to advances in skincare and aesthetics, there are options that can truly reverse damage and improve the look and health of your skin.

As your skin ages and is exposed to UVA and UVB rays, the turnover of skin cells slows significantly, throwing off the balance between the growth of healthy new cells and the sloughing of old, damaged cells. Additionally, collagen and elastin begin to break down, causing the skin to lose resilience resulting in fine lines, wrinkles and sagging. Daily exposure to UV light then accelerates this aging process and may cause uneven coloring.

Using medical grade skin care products with active ingredients is the first step in correcting photo-damaged skin and prevent premature aging. These active ingredients include Retinols, Alpha Hydroxy Acids, Antioxidants, and Hydroquinone. Topical Retinols are derived from Vitamin A, and work at a cellular level to increase collagen production and better the skin's inner arrangement. Vitamin A also plays a key role in forming and maintaining healthy skin. It improves the overall texture by encouraging the production and elimination of skin cells. As a result, the skin has a softer appearance with smaller pores and less fine lines.

Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) remove dead skin cells from the upper layer of the skin, increasing the creation of new skin cells and controlling moisture levels. AHAs result in a smoother, healthier skin tone.

Oxidative stress (primarily caused by sun exposure) damages the skin's support formation, the collagen matrix. Antioxidants, Vitamin C and E, fight oxidative pressure and help our skin cells to mend prior damage. When applied topically, antioxidants can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and skin discoloration, while enhancing the skin's vivacity.

Hydroquinone is a topical cream that inhibits the skin's abnormal melanin production, and helps to remove hyperpigmentation, improving the skin's overall tone and clarity.

A tell-tale sign of sun damage is mottled pigmentation. Peels will help soften dark spots to a certain degree because they promote cell turn-over. Freeing your skin of dead, dull, sun damaged skin is the first step to an improved appearance. Even after one peel you will notice an improvement in your skin's texture and tone, lessening of fine lines, and a healthier more youthful appearance.

Our Vitalize Peel is physician strength and has been clinically proven to help skin problems such as age spots, melasma, acne and fine lines. Dramatic results are achieved after a series of peels.

Microdermabrasion can also help to reverse sun damage. It is a great way to resurface the top few layers of skin to unveil a brighter and even complexion without the downtime of Chemical Peels.

Photorejuvenation with the McCue Ultra VPL utilizes variable pulse light technology, a recent European development in intense pulsed light treatments that is set for your individual skin type. Photorejuvenation with variable pulsed light can improve skin texture and reduce irregularities such as brown age spots that are caused from sun damage. Photorejuvenation also increases collagen production beneath the epidermal layer to reduce pore size, fine lines and wrinkles. We recommend a series of five treatments as each treatment builds upon the results gained from prior treatments.

At Ajuva, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to not only effectively treat sun damage, but to actually prevent it. Visible signs of aging cannot be fully avoided, but can be dramatically minimized with the help from our team of experts. We encourage you to meet with one of our skilled professionals and allow them to analyze your skin and determine the most effective treatment plan to bring you skin back to a healthy glow.