Many of the most common skin conditions and signs of skin aging are caused or worsened by sun and weather damage. Following a long summer season, it may be time to hit the reset button on healthy, beautiful skin. According to Dr. Jennifer Holman of the Center for Aesthetic and Laser Medicine in Tyler, Texas, “Summertime can be extremely tough on skin. Damage from the sun, humidity, drying air conditioning, and other sources can accumulate over the summer seasons, but your dermatologist can help you hit reset to repair skin damage before it’s permanent. Laser resurfacing is one of the most popular options for removing dead skin cells and revealing healthy new skin below.” If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading below. Dr. Holman will talk through the effects of summer sun on the skin and how laser skin resurfacing offers both short and long-term benefits.
Undoing Summer’s Toll: Addressing Sun-Damaged Skin
During the warm summer months, we like to spend more time outdoors, and even when we don’t spend extra time outdoors, the sun damages our skin more quickly in the summer. According to Dr. Holman, “Summertime sun damage is cumulative. That means every year skin sees greater amounts of damage due to sun exposure. The outer layers of skin are damaged by sun exposure, so removing this layer of damaged skin is one way to reduce the effects of sun damage and keep skin looking great. Laser resurfacing is one of the simplest ways to remove damaged skin and prevent long-term negative effects related to sun damage.”
Understanding Sun Damage: What Happens to Our Skin?
When exposed to the sun’s UVA and UVB rays, skin can be damaged in a multitude of ways. The sun produces free radicals, unstable atoms that damage cells, produced as part of UV radiation. Free radicals cause oxidative stress to the skin which breaks down collagen and elastin, increases melanin production, and leaves the skin looking older. UV radiation leads to the premature development of fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and other signs of aging.
Laser Resurfacing: A Modern Solution to an Age-old Problem
One of the best ways to keep skin looking and feeling healthy is to remove the damaged outer layers of skin frequently. When dead skin cells remain on the skin, they emphasize the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, cause uneven texture, and leave the skin looking older. To prevent these issues related to damaged skin cells, it’s important to remove dead skin cells with exfoliants as part of your summer skincare routine. Laser skin resurfacing removes this exterior layer of skin quickly and completely. This procedure is a great option to create a smooth, even texture and leave skin looking and feeling healthier. It also prevents the long-term effects of sun damage by removing damaged skin cells.
Your dermatologist will help you choose the best laser skin resurfacing option, but some of the most recommended laser skin resurfacing options include:
- HALO Laser Skin Resurfacing – this innovative laser skin resurfacing option combines both non-ablative and ablative lasers. Non-ablative lasers remove damaged surface skin cells and ablative lasers remove damaged skin cells deeper in the skin’s layers and stimulate collagen and elastin production.
- ResurFX – this non-ablative laser is a dermatologist and patient favorite because it offers faster treatment. Only one pass with this innovative laser technology delivers optimal results.
- MOXI – this laser treatment is rejuvenating, working to heal existing damage from the summer sun.
- CO2 Laser Resurfacing – the carbon dioxide (CO2) laser destroys the thin surface layers of skin, jumpstarting the skin’s healing processes.
- Clear+ Brilliant – this is another form of fractional laser treatment that makes microscopic wounds to promote skin healing. Clear+ Brilliant utilizes the innovative Intelligent Optical Tracking technology to ensure consistent laser application.
Some non-resurfacing treatments that address skin tone and discoloration may be recommended in conjunction with the laser resurfacing treatment options above. Some of the most commonly recommended options include:
- IPL Photo Rejuvenation – this treatment uses intense pulses of light to constrict collagen and blood vessels. It also breaks down hemoglobin and melanin cells that cause skin discoloration after sun exposure. It’s a great end-of-summer solution to restore the natural tone and texture of skin.
- Broad Band Light (BBL) Photofacial – BBL uses intense light pulses on the surface of the skin to undo surface-level damage. It’s a great option to use during the summer to reset skin.
Benefits of Choosing Laser Skin Resurfacing
There are numerous benefits to laser resurfacing, including:
- Improved overall appearance and skin rejuvenation
- Tighter, smoother skin
- Diminished appearance of scar tissue
- Smaller pores
- Even skin tone and texture
- Reduced appearance of blood vessels
- Fast and long-lasting results
A Laser Resurfacing Procedure: What to Expect?
A laser skin resurfacing procedure is relatively quick and easy. It involves applying a concentrated light beam to the skin. The laser is adjusted to destroy the damaged outer layers of skin, revealing healthy new skin below. The process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to a few hours, depending on the area to be covered. To alleviate discomfort, the dermatologist may apply topical anesthetics. Following treatment, your dermatologist will provide instructions to care for the skin to ensure healing. Follow these instructions closely to ensure fast and complete healing. Depending on the type of laser used and the extent of treatment, recovery typically takes a few days to a few weeks.
Complementing Laser Resurfacing: Tips to Prevent Future Sun Damage
In addition to receiving laser skin resurfacing after sun damage occurs, there are numerous steps you should take to improve the health and appearance of sun-damaged skin, including:
- Skincare – Develop and maintain a consistent skincare routine. This ensures your skin gets the nutrients and hydration it needs to stay healthy. A dermatologist can provide you with personalized recommendations for an effective skincare routine.
- Apply Sunscreen – A broad spectrum (protecting against both UVA and UVB rays) sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher should be used every day and applied to all areas of the skin exposed to sunlight. Skinbetter Science Sunbetter Tone Smart is a great solution that keeps skin protected from sun damage. It’s safe for the face and whole body.
- Limit sun exposure – Avoid spending time outdoors between 10 am and 4 pm as this is when the sun’s rays have the most damaging effects.
- Wear protective clothing – Hats, long sleeves, sunglasses, and other protective clothing can go a long way toward keeping skin safe from sun exposure.
- Perform regular skin exams – Each month, you should carefully examine your skin for any changes that may indicate skin cancer. You should also visit a dermatologist once a year for a professional skin exam.
Rediscover Radiant, Rejuvenated Skin Beyond Summer
When it comes to summertime skin damage, Dr. Holman says, “It’s much easier to prevent damage with proper skincare than to reverse issues after the fact. For this reason, it’s essential to follow a consistent daily skincare routine, including applying sunscreen to all areas of skin exposed to sunlight every day. With the help of a dermatologist, you can make protecting your skin against sun damage a daily priority. Combined with periodic laser skin resurfacing to reveal healthy, new skin, you’ll look younger and healthier even after a summer of fun in the sun.”
Schedule a Dermatologic Consultation
While laser skin resurfacing is an effective solution to reverse many skin health concerns, it’s not necessarily the right option for everyone. To find out if laser skin resurfacing is the right solution for you, explore your potential skincare options at a consultation visit with a skilled dermatologist. At U.S. Dermatology Partners, we make it easy to get started working with our trusted dermatologists. Just take a few moments to complete our online scheduling request form. Once we receive your request, a local team member will be in touch to finalize the details of your visit.
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