It is no secret that the sun is not friendly to human skin. The ultraviolet rays that emanate from the sun cause chemical changes in the body, leading to tanning or burning and, ultimately, permanent damage. Additionally, heat generated by the sun can deplete the natural oils of the skin, causing further harm. Excessive exposure to sunlight can create a condition known as actinic keratosis, which in some cases can be a harbinger of cancer. Fortunately, a number of medical remedies are available today to repair such damage.
One of the most basic methods of treating sun damaged skin is with a chemical peel. An assortment of solutions can be used, among them glycolic acid and phenol, although the type of chemical and its strength will depend upon the condition of the patient. Applied externally, the solution removes the top layer of skin and in the process allows for the development of new cells. Chemical peels have proven to be successful in specifically treating wrinkles caused by sun exposure.
A recent breakthrough in the treatment of skin damage is known as fractional CO2 laser resurfacing. Lasers have been used in other medical treatments, but the fractional system employs a special technique that allows the beam to penetrate the skin without causing damage to its surface. This method stimulates the production by the body of collagen, which gives the skin flexibility. The fractional laser method has proven to be one of the most effective ways of eliminating or at least reducing wrinkles caused by sunlight.
Intense pulsed light treatment represents the latest advancement in skin repair. Though similar to laser therapy, this method employs a computer to control the beam being directed on the skin, actually removing light rays that could otherwise be harmful to the patient. This technique minimizes the burning and blistering that can result from other skin treatments, which in turn reduces the time needed for recovery. The IPL system is useful in treating a host of dermatological problems, including sun damage.
The best treatment for skin damage is, of course, prevention, and this can easily be accomplished by avoiding unnecessary exposure to sunlight and by using a sunscreen before going out into the sun. Those who have not taken such preventive steps can still redeem themselves by seeing a dermatologist, who can offer them the services and advice needed to make them look better and feel better about themselves.