Austin is probably best known for its vibrant music scene, including the South by Southwest Music Festival. However, Austin is also home to a variety of outdoor activities, including the Barton Springs Pool and the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail. In fact, Austin is ranked as one of the fittest cities in the country. Unfortunately, all of this fitness and outdoor living comes at a price.
Austin has an average of 300 days of sunshine each year. That sunshine helps you make vitamin D, it elevates your mood, and it makes it warm enough to enjoy all that Austin has to offer. That same sunlight also damages your skin.
What is sun damage?
Sun damage is essentially weakness in the cells and structures of the skin caused by exposure to sunlight. Sun damage prematurely ages your skin causing wrinkles, age spots, loss of moisture, and other signs of aging.
Sunlight contains two major types of UV radiation that contribute to skin damage.
· UVA rays damage the DNA inside your skin cells including the cells that make melanin and collagen. Melanin is the pigment that causes tanning and collagen makes your skin strong and absorbs moisture. Long-term exposure to UVA rays can causes collagen to break down which contributes to wrinkles and loos skin. At the same time, the melanin cells can clump together causing age spots and areas of hyperpigmentation.
· UVB rays also damage the DNA inside your skin cells. They are the primary cause of sunburns and responsible for most skin cancers. Frequent sunburns can be as damaging to the skin as the loss of collagen, resulting in wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Reversing the damage.
Over-the-counter cosmetics, such as moisturizers, exfoliators, and bleach can all treat the superficial signs of aging, but they won’t reverse the underlying damage. Additionally, some of these treatments can make the situation worse because they can actually damage the skin themselves.
Using sunscreen can prevent further damage but, just like the over-the-counter remedies, they can’t undo the damage already done.
Luckily, laser skin resurfacing can actually reverse sun damage. Laser skin resurfacing is not only unexpectedly affordable; you can also find several providers in the Austin area at sites like http://www.americanlaser.com/services-products/skin-rejuvenation/skin-tightening/results/.
What is lase skin resurfacing?
Laser skin resurfacing uses different frequencies of intense laser light to reverse sun damage. On the surface it may seem counterintuitive to use intense light to treat damage caused by intense light, but lasers don’t use damaging UV radiation.
Laser skin resurfacing uses a type of light that actually repairs skin cells and stimulates them to produce more collagen. When the skin produces more collagen, it binds with another substance called elastin to restore strength and elasticity to the skin. This tightens the skin and reduces wrinkles.
This same type of light can also breaks down large clumps of melanin into microscopic particles, to remove age spots, freckles and other types hyperpigmentation.
Some types of laser skin resurfacing can also reduce the appearance of other skin blemishes, like acne scars and spider veins.
What to expect.
Because lasers work by repairing the skin cells, it can take a few sessions to start seeing results. On average, it takes five sessions to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and loose skin. However, some people could notice results after the first session, and the results can last from months to years depending on the overall health of your skin.
When laser resurfacing is used for blemishes and age spots, the results could be more immediate, but you could still need more than one session for the best results.
You might experience some redness and irritation, similar to mild sunburn. These effects usually last for a few hours, but can last several days if the treatment is more extensive. Once the redness has passed, your skin could peel like sunburn, revealing the healthier, smoother skin underneath.
In some rare cases it’s possible to have a reaction closer to severe sunburn, including possible blistering. This reaction should last no more than a week, and your doctor could prescribe a cream and painkillers to make you more comfortable.
Once your skin has healed you should use sunscreen to prevent further damage to your skin. You can also use over-the-counter products containing retinol or peptides to prolong the results.
Laser therapy works best on lighter skin tones. The pigment in very dark skin tends to absorb the light which can actually cause hyperpigmentation. Additionally, people with severe acne should avoid laser skin resurfacing.
If you are interested in reversing sun damage, and preventing further damage, consult your physician to determine if laser skin surfacing is right for you.