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Jun 07

Natalie Hernandez

How To Protect Your Skin This Summer

by Natalie Hernandez

There is nothing quite like the feeling of the sun’s warmth on your skin after a long, cold winter. But how do you enjoy the sunshine without damaging your skin?

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Ultraviolet Radiation

The sun emits three types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, UVA, UVB, and UVC rays. UVC rays, although they are the most damaging, are the least worrisome. UVC rays are the shortest of all the rays and get absorbed by the atmospheric ozone layer. The few places UVC rays can be found on earth are in mercury lamps, welding torches and older tanning beds. Their light can cause cell death and halt cell replication (new cell turnover). Use extreme caution if you come into contact with any of these items and avoid direct light exposure to the skin or eyes. 

123rf_39076635-photoaging-uv-penetration-diagram-converted-ns-edits.jpgUVA and UVB rays are longer waves of light that can pass through the atmosphere. Specifically, UVA rays account for 95% of the UV radiation that reaches earth. UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin and account for the majority of cosmetic damage to the skin. They can harm epidermal (superficial) cells, deeper structures such as collagen and elastin, and blood vessels, causing premature skin aging. It is important to note UVA rays can pass through clouds and glass, and are used in new tanning beds. Thus, being indoors doesn’t automatically mean being protected. UVB rays, on the other hand, don’t penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA rays, but result in more damage because they are higher in energy. UVB rays account for sunburns, damage to the skin’s DNA. They are most prominently linked to skin cancer.

Photoaging and Sun Damage

Photoaging is the process by which skin’s structure ages more rapidly due to exposure to ultraviolet light. Photoaging can begin as early as adolescence and is most common in fair-skinned people. The places on the body that most commonly experience photoaging are those with the most exposure to the sun: face and lips, neck, upper chest, hands and forearms.

Common signs of photoaging include:

  • Actinic Keratoses - Excessive exposure to UV light can cause actinic keratoses, bumps that feel like sandpaper or small, scaly patches of sun-damaged skin that have a pink, red, yellow or brownish tint. These spots generally need chemical treatment by a doctor to avoid progression into squamous cell cancer. Because the effects of UV radiation on the skin are complex, it is not fully known how actinic keratoses are caused on a cellular level. However, scientists believe they form from a combination of molecular signaling events that produce inflammation, immunosuppression, failure of apoptosis, and aberrant differentiation of stem cells. 
  • Dry Skin - Sun exposure can cause dry skin by depleting the skin of its natural lubricating oils. Loss of hydration will also make the skin more likely to wrinkle and cause itching. 
  • Easily Bruised Skin - Collagen, a structural support protein, not only creates volume within the skin but also supports the walls of dermal blood vessels. Therefore, collagen damage as a result of UV radiation can cause our blood vessels to become more fragile and more likely to rupture (i.e. bruising).
  • Fine Lines and Wrinkles - Damage to structural support proteins like collagen and elastin cause the skin to lose volume and make fine lines and wrinkles more prominent. To learn how hyaluronic acid also works to create volume in the skin, read our hyaluronic acid blog
  • Increased Pigmentation - Perhaps the most noticeable signs of photoaging are freckles and sun spots (age spots or liver spots). As a form of defense, our skin increases the production of melanin in response to UV radiation. Overtime melanin pigments can clump together and create freckles and sun spots. To learn more about melanin and how your skin type may respond to cosmetic treatments, read our blog on skin pigmentation and cosmetic treatments!
  • Spider Veins - When the skin loses volume from UV radiation, there is less tissue separating the surface of the skin from blood vessels. As a result, blood vessels may become more visible. 

If you begin to notice signs of photoaging in your skin, it is crucial to take preventative measures to avoid further skin-damage.

Prevention

Prevention of photoaging and sun-damage is the easiest way to keep your skin looking beautiful and healthy! 

            

Prevention Methods:

  • Cover your skin - Wear clothing and accessories that limit the amount of skin exposed to UV radiation.
  • Limit your exposure time - UVB rays are strongest from 10am-3pm. Therefore, try to limit your UV exposure during those hours.
  • Seek shade
  • Sunglasses - Sunglasses not only protect the eyes but they also prevent squinting, the number one cause of crow’s feet lines around the eyes!
  • Sunscreen - Cover all skin areas that may be exposed to UV radiation with SPF 30 or higher sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Safe tan options - If you are someone who enjoys the appearance of tanned skin, try sunless tanning products such as self tanning lotions, foams, tanning water, or spray tans.

Treatment

Thankfully there are a variety of treatments that can aid sun-damaged skin, many of which we offer here at Naficy Rejuvenation Center. 

  • Dermal Fillers - Facial fillers such as Restylane, Voluma, Lyft, and Juvederm are naturally occurring gels that are injected into the skin as a "filler". These treatments add volume to aging skin and lips, and help lift up wrinkles and folds. Most fillers consist of hyaluronic acid, which is a natural component of the skin. Once injected into the skin, fillers work by restoring a natural and healthy fullness and volume.dermal-filler1.jpg

*Individual results may vary.

  • Fraxel Laser - If you are interested in improving the quality of your skin and reducing signs of sun damage, fine lines, wrinkles, acne scars, and achieving an overall smoother and more radiant skin without significant down-time, the Fraxel may be the perfect treatment for you. Fraxel laser skin rejuvenation targets damaged skin with microscopic laser columns that penetrate beneath the skin surface.  The treatment intensity can also be varied to accommodate for your available down-time. A lighter, low-intensity treatment usually involves a weekend downtime and gives you light rejuvenation and a healthy glow. A heavier, more intense treatment may require 5-7 days of recovery time, but offers significantly more improvement of the fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage.seattle_fraxel01.jpg

*Individual results may vary.

  • Microneedling - Microneedling uses a high-speed automated stamp that microscopically penetrates the upper layers of your skin. Not only does MicroNeedling stimulate your body’s own repair mechanism to create more collagen, it also allows deeper absorption of skin care products that are applied to your skin. The procedure was originally developed to treat acne scars, some surgical scars, and stretch marks. It is also commonly used to treat enlarged pores and for general skin rejuvenation and treatment of abnormal pigmentation. microneedling.jpg

*Individual results may vary.

  • VI Peel - Chemical peels are an effective way to remove older, damaged skin and revitalize the new skin underneath! At Naficy Rejuvenation Center, we offer VI Peels, the #1 ranked brand of chemical peels. The VI Peel is a unique blend of ingredients that produces results with no skin preparation and very little downtime. Most patients enjoy firmer, clearer, more radiant skin, for a healthy, youthful appearance at any age. Specifically, the VI Peel Precision Plus is best for adult skin discoloration such as melasma, UV-induced hyperpigmentation, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.  vi-peel-precision-plus.jpg

*Individual results may vary.

It is important to note that laser treatments and chemical peels are not recommended during the summer months. Increased sun exposure on treated skin may lead to hyperpigmentation, skin sensitivity and greater likelihood of burning. 

Are you ready to take care of your skin this summer? Our team is equipped to give you a thorough skin consultation! Each consultation and treatment is tailored to your unique anatomy and desires to achieve the best possible results. You can schedule your appointment today using our Naficy Online Scheduler or by calling/texting us at (425)450-0880. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you!

Photos and References:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/sun-damaged-skin-a-to-z

https://www.vie-aesthetics.com/concerns/sun-damaged-skin/

https://dermatology.ca/public-patients/skin/photoaging/#:~:text=Photoaging%20is%20premature%20aging%20of,sources%20%E2%80%93%20alter%20normal%20skin%20structures.

https://share.upmc.com/2014/07/difference-between-uva-uvb-uvc/#:~:text=The%20sun%20emits%20three%20different,type%20affects%20your%20skin%20differently.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23228301



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