Florida’s climate and environment are the state’s calling cards, the reasons so many of us love living here. The sun shines almost year-round, and the beaches are gorgeous. But even when we use sunscreen, all that sunshine can take its toll, causing wrinkles, brown spots, and melasma. Sun damage often catches our attention at the end of summer, when we see patients seeking facial rejuvenation procedures at our Vero Beach med spa.
The good news is that advanced technology makes it possible to not only repair sun damage, but in some cases to even reverse the effects of sun exposure. In this blog post, we’ll talk about the options offered at White Orchid Spa for women and men concerned about the condition of their skin.
How Does Sun Damage the Skin?
To begin, it’s helpful to understand exactly what happens to the skin when it’s exposed to the sun and why protecting your skin is so important. We all know that sun exposure damages the skin. In fact, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90% of wrinkles and other signs of aging can be blamed on the sun. So, what exactly happens when the sun shines on our skin?
Radiation in the form of UVA and UVB rays produced by the sun penetrate the skin’s upper and deeper layers: the epidermis and the dermis. Melanin, produced by the skin, absorbs the UV radiation as a defense mechanism. This is why we tan. Melanin is a type of pigment and darkens as it absorbs the sun’s UV rays.
When we’re out in the sun for extended periods (especially without applying sunscreen), the UVB rays overwhelm the skin’s ability to protect itself and the sun begins burning the skin. The UVA rays, meanwhile, penetrate the skin’s deeper layer (the dermis) damaging the collagen and the skin’s elasticity. This is where it gets really serious. Sun damage to the dermis releases free radicals and harms the skin cells’ DNA. If you don’t know anything else about free radicals, know this: free radicals speed up the skin’s aging process.
That means the sun is primarily responsible for saggy skin, wrinkles, hyperpigmentation (dark spots and melasma), and—most seriously—the potential risk of skin cancer. This process is called extrinsic aging, which is the kind caused by the environment and your lifestyle.
What Can We Do About It?
Treating sun damage is best accomplished with laser skin resurfacing. The question then becomes, which laser treatment is best for specific skin conditions? Until fairly recently, patients had 2 general options: aggressive laser treatments that vaporized the skin’s external layer or gentler procedures that heated the deeper layers. The first option, called ablative skin resurfacing, produced results after only 1 treatment but required significant recovery time. Conversely, the non-ablative laser didn’t require downtime, but a patient needed a series of 5 or more treatments to see results.
The Halo™ Solution
We’re excited to now offer Halo, the world’s first hybrid laser skin resurfacing treatment, which combines the best of both worlds for reducing the damage caused by sun exposure. Halo is a fractional laser that combines ablative and non-ablative wavelengths, delivering them with pinpoint precision to the same microscopic treatment zones. This produces the optimal results after 1 or 2 treatments with minimal downtime.
It’s an especially effective option for reducing wrinkles and fine lines, along with the discoloration associated with melasma. We’ve recently acquired the Halo system, and our patients love it. It works on most skin types, and we use it for the face, neck, décolletage, hands, and just about any part of the body that’s exposed to the sun.
Every patient is unique, and we don’t use cookie-cutter solutions if they’re not right for you. Sun-damaged skin may respond better to other treatments. Options include Forever Young BBL™ (BroadBand Light), a light-based, anti-aging procedure that minimizes wrinkles and age spots.
Our nurse practitioners may also recommend a VI Peel® in some cases. Our team can formulate peels to address specific skin concerns.
Now’s a great time to learn more about the Halo hybrid laser skin resurfacing treatment we offer. You can request an appointment using the online form or call us at (772) 646-0170.