Soon we will be closing the pool, putting away the patio furniture, and getting jackets out of the closet. As summer comes to an end, our skin is usually in need of some tender loving care and it is a good time to think about repairing your summer skin damage.
Nicole Norris MD Medical Spa, in Peru, Illinois, provides medical-grade professional cosmetic treatments for the skin. We asked them to give their opinion on the top 3 procedures they do to reverse sun damage. Dr. NicoleNorris says “Microneedling, Laser Photofacial and Chemical peels are by far the most effective ways to reverse damage from thermal energy safely and effectively.”
We all know that UVA and UVB radiation from the sun is stronger in the summer, although it affects our skin all year long. This radiation produces free radicals in our skin and slows our skin’s ability to repair itself. When damage persists and the skin cannot keep up with the repair backlog, wrinkles, poor texture and skin laxity are formed. Microneedling, also referred to as collagen induction therapy, utilizes a device with multiple small needles which penetrate the skin, stimulating the skin to repair itself. Through these new open channels in the skin, products can also be introduced into the dermis without any barrier. Dr. Norris comments, “ At our office, we like to put hyaluronic acid, a building block of collagen, into the skin while the microneedling channels are still open. We are also seeing great results with a new product on the market that stimulates brand new skin stem cells. When we are born, a certain number of skin stem cells are activated that we use our whole lives to repair injured skin. These old stem cells get tired out, so activating new ones is really at the forefront of skin rejuvenation .” Microneedling is done with topical numbing medicine making it very tolerable. There is some initial redness after the procedure but special make-up can be applied, if necessary, to cover it. Results are gradually seen over time as it takes our bodies about 3 to 6 months to make new collagen. The degree of skin damage determines how many treatments are needed.
When it heats up outside, we are not only exposed to UVA and UVB radiation that directly contributes to older looking skin, but also to heat. Heat stimulates our pigment cells which produce pigment or melanin. These pigment deposits create our “tan”, but also freckles, and worse yet, age spots. A laser treatment called Photofacial or Intense Pulse Light (IPL) is the most effective way to destroy pigment that has accumulated in the skin. The treatment is quick and feels like a few warm rubber band snaps. There is no downtime. In 7-14 days, you begin to see the pigment slough off. Depending how deep the pigment is deposited, determines how many IPL treatments you will need.
Medical-grade chemical peels are performed to treat unwanted pigment deposits in the skin as well as lines, skin texture and skin laxity. A combination of acids are applied to the skin for a brief period of time in multiple layers. The acids stimulate the skin to repair itself. A medium to deep chemical peel stimulates skin cell turnover which is important in treating aging skin. “When we are 20 years old, our skin cell turnover to repair damaged skin is 10 days. Every 10 years, the time it takes to produce new skin goes up by 10 days. This is the physiologic reason that we gradually look older. Chemical peels decrease our time for new skin production resulting in reversal of facial aging” states Tamara Smith, RN at Nicole Norris MD Medical Spa. Chemical peels are usually done in a series and are customized to each patient. If done correctly, chemical peels are not painful and you may experience a few days of mild flaking after the procedure.
“I think many patients are fearful of these medical-grade skin rejuvenation procedures because of what they see on reality television and what they read on the internet. I encourage anyone interested in improving their appearance, repairing their summer sun damage, or deciding to not age gracefully to try these procedures under the supervision of a qualified physician,” advises Dr. Norris.