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The Sunny Side: How to Reduce the Appearance of Sun Damage and Age Spots

By: Louis Silberman
Posted: July 30, 2013, from the August 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Chemical peels can vary in strength, ranging from very minor solutions that require little to no downtime, to stronger peels that may require a few days to heal. Some of the most popular light-to-medium peels use alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs), beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) and trichloroacetic (TCA) acids, or a combination of various acids and concentrations.

Intense pulsed light (IPL) photofacial. IPL treatments have become very popular as a tool to erase sun spots and fine lines. An IPL photofacial uses a series of gentle light pulses that target the pigment present in sun spots, as well as other color irregularities. As the light travels through the layers of skin, heat from the light causes damage to the abnormally pigmented areas. This will kick-start the body’s natural healing process. The spot will either become darker and flake off, or it will be naturally absorbed by the body. IPL photofacials also stimulate collagen growth to reduce fine lines.

For the average client, three-to-five IPL photofacial treatments are required for best results, and most clients can be treated as frequently as every three weeks. Throughout the course of the treatment process, clients can expect to see improved skin texture and a smoother, more even complexion.

Fractional laser. For a more aggressive treatment for sun damage, there are fractional laser procedures. A fractional laser treats sun spots, wrinkles and fine lines with the use of a laser beam that is split (fractionated) into thousands of microscopic beams of light energy. The pixilated light penetrates the dermis and generates enough heat to stimulate natural collagen production and new cell growth. In addition to reducing the appearance of sun damage, fractional lasers can also help treat acne scars, stretch marks and melasma.

When skin is treated using a fractionalized approach, the surrounding skin is left intact, which helps speed up the healing process. Most clients will see results after one treatment, but they will need a series of three-to-five treatments for optimal results.

Learn the science behind aging skin from world-renowned dermatologist Zoe Draelos, MD, in the Aging Skin lesson, part of the Physiology of the Skin online video series from Skin Inc. Video Education.