Having recently spent some time in Europe, I was shocked to see the attitudes of some people, towards sun exposure and protection. Whilst in Spain in particular I was amazed to see so many women with skin that resembled a leather hand bag hanging from their bones bathing away in the direct sunlight for hours on end. If ever there was an advert for the importance of sun protection and the reality of sun damaged skin then these women were it.
Such sights are less common in Australia as these days we tend to be better educated on the damaging effects the sun’s rays can have on our health and skin.
However, if you are from the generation that would happily use tanning oil with little or no sunscreen and bake the day away, you have probably noticed the aging effects on your skin in later years. You may also have noticed some brown spotting on areas like the face, décolletage, hands and back. This is excessive pigmentation of the skin stimulated by UV exposure over many years. The good news is we can actually reverse and mostly eliminate this unsightly skin pigmentation using Laser, LED’s and/or chemical peels depending on the severity and location. General sun damage such as skin thickening and wrinkles is due to UV energy deterioration of collagen and elastin and is much harder to reveres even with the best cosmeceutical products and hence prevention is still the best medicine.
The clientele that come into the clinic are certainly becoming more aware and conscious about the damaging effects of the sun and I am therefore hopeful that the leather skinned women I saw in Spain will be a sight we tend to see less and less with future generations. In particular, people are realising the need for good quality sunscreens and the avoidance of solariums and prolonged exposure to the sun’s rays, not that we seem to be getting much sun in Melbourne these days!
I highly recommend the use of physical sunscreens for your face, neck and décolletage. These sunscreens are fundamentally different from the standard chemical SPF lotions you get at the chemist or supermarket. A standard chemical sunscreen actually absorbs the sun’s rays and in doing so stops most of the UV from penetrating the skin. However, this process generates heat which can also be damaging to the skin, can take up to 20 minutes after application before providing adequate protection and can still allow some damaging UV rays to penetrate. Physical sunscreens act as reflective barrier meaning the rays effectively bounce off the skin rather than being absorbed and they are effective immediately after application. People tend to associate sunscreen with heavy and greasy cream applications but this is not necessarily the case with better products. At Clinica-Lase we stock a range of physical sunscreens to suit a wide range of needs.
There are many factors that affect the appearance and quality of our skin such as stress, genetics, smoking and diet but the sun still remains the biggest environmental factor and hence adequate protection is key to limiting the ageing process. If you have any concerns regarding sun damaged skin, pigmentation removal or how best to prevent it, feel free to email me or pop into the clinic for a chat.