Summer is coming to an end, and – as much as we hate to be the killjoys – it’s time to reevaluate whether there are any unwanted effects of sun exposure on our skin. Remember, sun rays are dangerous as much as they’re enjoyable.
When it comes to excessive sun exposure, there are short-term and long-term consequences. The ones we notice first are dry patches, discoloration, or scorching sunburn. Over the years, these can lead to highly visible premature aging, and in some cases, skin cancer.
Over 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed in Canada each year, more than 5,000 of these are melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Let’s not allow that to happen in Ottawa! Read this blog and learn how to protect yourself on time and, if needed, what treatment you should seek.
What Is Sun Damage?
Dermatologists use various names for unwanted sunlight effects, such as photoaging, photodamage, solar damage, and sun damage.
If the skin is not protected by sunscreen, UV lights will penetrate the skin causing DNA changes at a cellular level. The damage is happening in our dermis, the deepest level of the skin, and therefore it can go unnoticed for months and even years until the damage is visible on the surface.
Signs / Symptoms
- (Excessive) wrinkling and aging
- Pigmentation (age spots, liver spots, and freckles)
- Decreased elasticity
- Uneven skin texture
- Broken capillaries around the nose and chest
There is nothing wrong with aging – it’s an unavoidable natural process that we should embrace. Nevertheless, excessive aging due to sun exposure can make us look much older than we really are.
To determine if you are rapidly photoaging, compare skin that’s always exposed to the sun and skin that’s rarely exposed. The difference can be slight to major.
- UVA light. Deepest sun radiation, from the epidermis to dermis. Causes loss of collagen and elastin fibres.
- UVB light. Damages the epidermis, causes photoaging, and can create precancerous cells.
- UVC light. Absorbed by ozone. A health risk only in ozone hole areas.
Ultraviolet light can be very dangerous, and sometimes highest on a day you wouldn’t find hot or threatening in any way. Luckily, you can easily track the level of UVA and UVB radiation via weather forecast apps on your phone. If radiation is very high, try avoiding exposure altogether, and if it’s medium to low, use sunscreen and freely go out.
Who is susceptible?
Unfortunately, everyone is. However, dermatologists use something called the Fitzpatrick’s Scale to determine the skin types that are most susceptible to sun damage, and it might help you to familiarize yourself and find your skin type.
Type I—Light, pale, white skin. Always burns, never tans.
Type II—Fair, white skin. Usually burns, tans with difficulty.
Type III—Medium-light to olive skin. Sometimes mild burns, tans to olive.
Type IV—Olive or light brown skin. Rarely burns, tans with ease to medium brown.
Type V—Light to medium brown skin. Almost never burns, tans very easily.
Type VI—Dark brown skin. Never burns and is easiest to tan.
Sun Damage Treatments
Before you start any treatment, you should determine the level of sun damage on your skin. There’s a big difference between only esthetical damage and cellular damage. Consult with your chosen doctor, do adequate tests if necessary, and based on that, select the best treatment.
Of course, if the solar damage to your skin is only of esthetical nature, there are many ways to get your glowy, healthy skin back. Among other areas, our Clinic has vast experience in treating sun damage, though the methods vary on what’s best for your concrete case.
Intense Pulse Light is safely used to treat sun-damaged skin, aged skin, and superficial redness on various areas of the face and body by targeting the damaged cells and stimulating the production of new healthy skin and collagen. The damaged cells will dry up and slough off usually within one to two weeks following treatment.
IPL is a procedure in which intense pulses of light are used to penetrate deep into the skin. IPL photo-rejuvenation then causes collagen and blood vessels below the epidermis to constrict, reducing redness and age lines/spots.
Microdermabrasion encourages the production of a new underlying layer of skin cells with higher levels of collagen and elastin, which further improves your skin’s appearance. Our team is proud to use SilkPeel™ Dermalinfusion™, new format dermabrasion that provides non-invasive exfoliation and the delivery of skin-specific topical solutions under pressure.
Unlike traditional technologies that rely on messy crystals or other irritating particles, SilkPeel™ Dermalinfusion™’s diamond tip head evenly abrades the skin at a depth of 30 microns, exfoliating damaged skin cells while delivering targeted topical solutions deep into the skin.
Cosmetic Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Facial Rejuvenation is a leading-edge procedure that harnesses the healing power of platelets and growth factors from your blood to stimulate a stem cell response. These stem cells help you to grow new blood vessels and collagen, regenerate and repair damaged skin, and help slow and reverse the signs of aging.
The Laser Genesis procedure utilizes non-invasive laser technology to safely, discreetly, and effectively treat fine line wrinkles, large pores, uneven skin texture, diffuse redness, and scars. You can expect to see subtle yet consistent results after each treatment, without unwanted side effects such as bruising or excessive skin irritation.
How to Prevent Sun Damage
There are two key actions in preventing solar damage – avoiding sunlight on days with dangerously high UV radiation, and applying sunscreen whenever you’re outside.
For best results, use a minimum 30 SPF factor and higher. Water-resistant sunscreens are necessary when you’re exercising or swimming. And don’t forget to reapply sunscreen after a couple of hours, especially if you’re getting your skin wet.
Make a habit of checking UVA and UVB radiation every morning, it can’t hurt yet it can literally save your life in the long run.
Book Your Appointment Today
If you’re searching for sun damage treatments in Ottawa, you’ve definitely come to the right place. Over three decades, we’ve been helping our clients regain their confidence and health.
Serving patients in the Ottawa area for over 30 years, our facility provides the highest standard of safe and effective vein treatments, skin rejuvenation, laser hair removal, general skincare, and more. We are just a phone call away – 613-737-5675. Our team will gladly address any questions you might have every Monday to Thursday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Stay healthy and feel comfortable in your skin – it’s your birthright.