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A Deeper Look at Sun Damage

By: Jennifer Wild, DO
Posted: February 28, 2011, from the March 2011 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Hyperpigmentation. This is one of the most common concerns for mature clients. The melanogenesis, or pigment-producing process, generates melanin in response to inflammation, and UV exposure significantly increases inflammation levels throughout the epidermis and dermis. Sun-induced hyperpigmentation most often appears as random, sporadic freckling that may be more prevalent on the higher, more exposed areas of the face, such as the top of the forehead or the bridge of the nose.

The culprits

Overall, there are dive crucial changes responsible for accelerated visible aging:

  • The degradation of collagen and elastin
  • The overproduction of MMP enzymes
  • A decrease in the skin’s NMF
  • An overproduction of epidermal cells
  • An increase in melanin production

The solutions

Now that you know what needs to be addressed, it is much simpler to choose effective ingredients for prevention and correction. See Ingredients That Address Sun Damage to help you identify ingredients that can help relieve your clients’ sun damage concerns.

In-spa treatments—particularly chemical peels and microdermabrasion—are highly recommended. The collagen-stimulating and exfoliating benefits associated with both types of procedures will significantly accelerate results. Research indicates that alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), trichloroacetic acid (TCA), salicylic acid and others stimulate the production of collagen when applied to the skin.3 In addition, each acid either dissolves dead skin cells or dissolves the bonds that hold them together, which will decrease surface buildup, increase cell turnover and support NMF retention. Microdermabrasion has also been shown to stimulate collagen production, and the mechanical exfoliating properties will smooth textural changes, such as wrinkling, and encourage healthy cell turnover rates.4

Practice prevention

Although it is true that each person will continue to age, there are measures that can be taken to limit the severity of visible skin aging. Prevention is, of course, ideal, and clients of all ages should use a broad-spectrum sunscreen each morning. Antioxidants and matrix metalloproteinase inhibitors (MMPi) are also important preventive steps, and some sunscreens are even formulated with protective antioxidants and MMPi ingredients for convenience. Once the damage is done, it is not too late. Clients should use a combination of corrective ingredients that address multiple concerns simultaneously for the fastest possible results. In-spa procedures will also significantly accelerate outcomes. By truly understanding what it is that is being treated, spa professionals of all experience levels can achieve consistent results with all of their clients, resulting in repeat business and retail sales.

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