How can I recognize sun damage on my skin?
Sun damage (photoaging) is most commonly apparent in fair skinned people. Damage is manifested by freckled/brown spots and splotches, wrinkling, and broken blood vessels. Subtle freckling of the face may be difficult to recognize. A special UV camera can help uncover any freckling and help you determine how much sun damage has occurred. Cary Dermatology offers complimentary UV photography at local health fairs.
Why does my skin appear sun-damaged when I have not sunbathed in years?
The early signs of sun damage are often subtle. Sometime during a persons thirties or forties it may seem as though brown spots and wrinkles suddenly appear. This is actually the effect of years of chronic short term sun exposure from daily activities such as walking through the grocery store parking lot. It isn't just the trips to the beach or pool that add to the photoaging process. This emphasizes the importance of year-round daily sunscreen use.
At what age do the first signs of sun damage occur?
Those adorable freckles on the face of a 4 or 5 year old are actually evidence of early sun damage. Children who freckle are at higher risk for all types of skin cancer. Sun protection such as daily sunscreen use and sun protective clothing are recommended for all children, especially those who freckle.
What type of sunscreen should I use?
Sunlight damages the skin by radiating both UVA and UVB light. The SPF on the sunscreen label indicates how effective the sunscreen is at blocking UVB light. A product with an SPF of 15 or greater is recommended. UVA light also plays an important role in damaging the skin. There is no number to indicate how effective a sunscreen is at blocking UVA. While many sunscreens claim to have UVA protection, it may be minimal. Presently, there are 3 sunscreen ingredients that provide good UVA protection: zinc oxide, Parsol 1789 (avobenzone), and titanium dioxide. If you have sensitive skin or have had reactions to sunscreen in the past, use a sunscreen that is labeled as chemical-free. Sunscreen gels are available for people with oily skin. For daily use, apply a moisturizer with sunscreen. Most importantly, do not let sunscreen give you a false sense of confidence. Even the best sunscreen does not completely block the sun. Sun avoidance is still the best prevention.
How can Cary Dermatology help me improve my sun-damaged skin?
Cary Dermatology provides comprehensive care for sun-damaged skin. We begin with sunscreen recommendations and prescription or office-dispensed products to help reverse the aging process. We offer a full line of MD Forte and SkinCeuticals products, and will tailor a skin care program based upon your individual needs. Light and medium depth chemical peels, and microdermabrasion are offered to accelerate skin rejuvenation. Facial blood vessels may be removed with the laser surgery or IPL® Treatment for Rosacea treatments.