If you've had a lengthy daily commute for years, or if you're employed in a business that requires you to spend much of your day behind the wheel, you may have begun to notice the effects of this uneven sun exposure. Even tinted auto glass provides little protection against harmful UVA and UVB rays, and your left arm and the left side of your face may often bear the marks of this exposure -- fine lines, age spots, and wrinkles. What can you do to help eliminate these problems and regain a more uniform appearance? Read on to learn more about your sun damage options.
For sun damage that has manifested itself in the form of misshapen freckles or age spots, laser treatment could all but eliminate these unsightly blotches. During this process, a high-powered laser beam is directed at each area of discoloration. The light molecules are strong enough to penetrate the melanin that makes up these spots, and dissolves them to allow re-absorption into your body. You'll hear a "ping" sound as the laser makes contact and may feel a slight stinging sensation (laser therapy has been described by some patients as feeling like a rubber band snapping).
Depending upon your skin tone and the size and pigment of the spots you'd like to remove, you may be able to achieve significant reduction or elimination of these spots after just one treatment.
In some cases, long-term sun exposure can change the texture of your top layer of skin, leaving it rough and dull. Microdermabrasion can be a non-invasive and effective way to remove this skin and allow new, healthy skin to shine through. While there are a number of at-home microdermabrasion kits and equipment, having a dermatologist perform your first procedure is often the best way to get a handle on the technique -- as well as to determine whether this is a treatment that will be effective for you.
Wrinkles may be less visible after microdermabrasion, but can still be bothersome -- especially if they tend to be deeper or more pronounced on the side of your face most frequently exposed to the sun. Having a chemical peel performed can help shrink these wrinkles (or make them more shallow), allowing them to be easily covered up with makeup.
Most chemical peels are performed with citric acid or another type of natural acid designed to remove the top few layers of skin. This acid is applied to your skin and then removed, along with dead cells. While chemical peels can be uncomfortable, this discomfort is short-lived and shouldn't feel any worse than a sunburn. (This sensation can help you during the recovery process, as it's important to stay out of the sun to shield your skin from further damage until it has fully healed).
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