[By Fiona Li]
The healthy glow from a suntan can have dangerous repercussions and I’m beginning to experience all of them now. Growing up in the late 70s, I used to spend hours upon hours at the beach, by the pool and in the solarium roasting myself to a golden tan that rivaled then poster girls, Bo Derek and Farah Fawcett. With my slick of shimmery blue eye shadow and a head of bouncy windswept curls, I was glistening under the disco ball of 54 and partied like there’s no tomorrow. Fast forward that to today and I’m faced with a heavy price to pay. As we age, our skin tends to show sun damage that we accrued from a lifetime of sun exposure. Unfortunately, this damage often starts deep in the dermis and surfaces many years later.
Our skin contains two vital proteins, collagen and elastin, that help maintain its structure. When one is constantly exposed to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays, these proteins start to break down giving rise to changes associated with sun damaged skin. Unlike natural aging which is characterized by thinning of skin and the accentuation of expression lines into fine wrinkles; photo aging is distinguished by coarse wrinkles, dry and rough skin, abundant freckling, lost of firmness and skin discoloration. Habitual tanning or unprotected outdoor activity severely damages the elastic fibers below the surface of the skin, causing it to appear tight and leathery. At the same time, the skin loses its ability to bounce back from stretching and deep, dry wrinkles develop. Solar lentigines otherwise commonly known as sun spots or liver spots start appearing on sun exposed areas such as the face, neck , outer surface of the forearms and the back of the hands. So am I destined to have skin rougher than an alligator Birkin or are they ways to turn back the hands of time? Here’s RSB top five picks to repair, restore and rejuvenate sun damaged skin.
Block And Moisturize
As the age old saying goes, ‘Prevention is better than cure’. The best prevention for photo aging is a comprehensive sun safety program that includes the use of sunscreens, wearing protective clothing and hats, and seeking shade whenever possible. Wearing SPF every single day is absolutely critical because the sun can reverse any results you are obtaining in your fight against sun damaged skin. As a general rule, use SPF 15 or more when you are mostly indoors and upgrade that to at least SPF30 if you remain outdoors for an hour or more. It might not be the fountain of youth in a tub, but the right kind of serums and creams will replenish fluid and lighten pigmentation of sun damaged skin when used consistently. As sun damage reside deep into the layers of the skin, results are often visible only after 8 to 12 weeks or more so be patient! My personal favorite got to be Sloane Inc. 24K Gold Primer available exclusively from The Sloane Shop
This exceedingly lightweight age-defying treatment combines pure 24 Karat Gold with the power of antioxidants & botanicals to enhance skin’s elasticity, firmness & smoothness. By improving circulation & decreasing skin inflammation, pure gold helps to rejuvenate the skin from inside out, boosting skin’s natural radiance & luminescence. For a more even skin tone and to lighten superficial pigmentation, consider using Sloane Inc Lightening Complexion Corrector, which carries a bunch of powerful holistic lighteners that synergistically work to fade discoloration caused by repetitive, prolonged sun exposure.
From a gentle DIY home scrub to Microdermabrasion done professionally at a spa and Chemical Peels with your doctor, exfoliation aims to remove lacklustre dead skin and more importantly; increases cellular turnover and regeneration of new skin to restore youthfulness. “Depending on the skin type, the extent of sun damage and the degree of skin exfoliation one can tolerate, I use a variety of fruit acid peels to help address my patients’ problems,” says Dr. Chua Han Boon from The Sloane Clinic. “There is minimal downtime with chemical peels and my patients usually drop by during lunch break for a quick consultation and treatment and would go back to work straight after that.”
Pump Up The Volume
The revolutionary discovery of Hyaluronic Acid or HA fillers brings hope to skin that has aged prematurely from prolonged, unprotected UV exposure. For deeper furrows, direct injection is a great way to fill them up. As for severely dehydrated skin plagued with numerous fine lines, consider doing the Restylane Hydrolift. This treatment consists on carefully placed microinjections of natural hyaluronic acid to give tired saggy faces a subtle lift while replenishing lost hyaluronic acid stores instantly and restoring skin moisture to youthful levels. Studies have shown that Restylane® also stimulates your body’s own production of collagen, explaining why over the next 2-3 weeks, you will notice further lifting of your facial contour, together with more radiant, luminous skin. Like your own natural hyaluronic acid, Restylane® is naturally broken down by your body over time and can be repeated at 4 to 6 months’ interval for best results.
Zap The Capillaries
Telangiectasias, broken capillaries, or facial and nasal spider veins are typically contributed by sun damage. These tiny broken veins in the face cause a persistent flushed look and have the visual effect of “aging” the face and giving one ‘the drunken sailor’ look. These flaws are known to be worsened by heat, alcohol and further sun exposure. Thankfully, all these conditions are treatable with the V beam laser. This pulsed dye laser delivers an intense but gentle burst of light energy in long pulses to your skin. When targeted at blood vessels, it results in a gentle heating effect with uniform coagulation that does not affect surrounding tissue adversely. The body then absorbs the treated blood vessels during the natural healing process, giving rise to clear, flawless skin. As with all light and laser therapy, it is crucial to wear sunscreen and engage in other forms of sun protection post treatment.
When your working desk top is full of scratches and marks what do you do? Replace it! Nothing beats skin resurfacing when it comes to treatment for sun damaged skin. Unlike CO2 laser resurfacing which is tedious and with significant downtime, Mixto Micro-Resurfacing laser combines advanced fractional CO2 technology with a high-speed computer scanner to deliver a precise matrix of micro laser pulses which erase skin imperfections and activate skin rejuvenation while facilitating rapid skin healing. Mixto Micro-Resurfacing utilizes a CO2 laser wavelength that is able to penetrate the deeper layers of the skin for total skin rebirth and more dramatic results. Stubborn scars are resurfaced, resistant pigmentation erased, deep wrinkles released and rough sun-damaged skin revitalised.
Aging is a part of life, but sun damage doesn’t necessarily have to be. In our modern way with ever expanding science and technology, we are presented with many opportunities for treating those annoying spots, pesky lines and parchment liked skin. It is within your power to do the research and not get fooled by gimmicks and empty promises. Always be realistic in your expectation and budget when deciding which option is right for you. Take your time to discuss your problems and concern with a professional as no two persons are made in the same way. Lastly, always bear this in your mind—no matter which route you take, always remember… a smiling face and a positive outlook is better than a perfect complexion on any given day.