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June 30, 2013

Sun Damage and Skin Care

Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid via freedigitalphotos.netIt’s that time year when we all enjoy spending time outdoors in the beautiful summer weather. While summer should be enjoyed to the fullest, it remains more important than ever to protect your skin from the damaging rays of the sun. 
As a facial plastic surgeon I am continually trying to help patients combat the long-term effects of sun damage that they have accumulated during their lifetimes. The good news is that many of these effects can be improved with treatment.  However, you’ll certainly be better off if you take steps to prevent sun damage from happening in the first place.
First let’s discuss how to treat the damaging effects that the sun has already had on your skin. Ultraviolet radiation damages our skin in many ways. The most important concern resulting from excess sun exposure is the growing epidemic of skin cancer. It’s important to remember that there are different types of skin cancers.  Some are quite curable, while others can be difficult to treat.  Performing careful skin checks and seeing your dermatologist for annual check ups will help you catch a skin cancer early before has a chance to cause problems. 
Sun damage can also affect our appearance in other ways. Wrinkles and sunspots are the result of the cumulative sun exposure we receive during our lifetimes. However, we are able to reverse many of these signs of aging through the use of treatments which rejuvenate the skin. These treatments include laser and chemical peels as well as topical medications that can greatly improve skin quality.
So how do we minimize these sun related skin changes?  With prevention! Make sure to use a good sunblock of at least 30 SPF every day.  Don’t forget to reapply sunblock to any exposed areas at different points throughout the day. Also try to limit your time outside during the peak sun hours of 10 AM to 2 PM.  Wide-brimmed hats are also a good option if you must be outside during these hours. 
Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!

Tagged: skin cancers, skincare, sun damage

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