With temperatures quickly rising and summer just around the corner, it’s important to understand just how essential protection from sunlight is. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), many of the skin changes we tend to attribute to aging can actually be caused by the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation. That is, over time, sun exposure causes the skin to become less elastic, leading to a wrinkly, even leathery texture. The skin can also thin out and cause many of the issues we commonly associate with aging. Furthermore, besides the aesthetic consequences, unprotected sun exposure can lead to skin cancer and other serious problems.
As a board-certified plastic surgeon of over 20 years, I’ve been privileged to help countless patients improve their appearances. Some of the most common complaints people have about their looks are the various signs of aging, and although many of these ultimately cannot be prevented, there’s a great deal that noninvasive, minimally invasive, and surgical cosmetic procedures can do to alleviate the physical indicators of time. There are also relatively simple habits you can develop to keep yourself looking younger & healthier for longer.
Many people don’t realize just how damaging unprotected sun exposure can be. Even after relatively brief amounts of exposure to (UV) radiation, proteins in the skin that help it maintain its elasticity begin to break down. This makes it difficult for the skin to spring back to a smooth texture when movement forms natural creases & lines in the face & elsewhere. Over time, these lines and creases tend to stick around. Injectable treatments like Botox® and JUVÉDERM® can treat these signs of aging, but behavioral choices can influence physical age indicators as well.
In addition to contributing to persistent wrinkles & creases, sun exposure can damage the skin’s texture and coloration. This can lead to a yellowish and/or uneven pigmentation pattern. These issues can typically be treated with chemical peels or laser skin treatments, which can stimulate natural collagen growth and minimize wrinkles & creases. There are several techniques like these that help to restore the skin’s youthful look, improve its texture, & revitalize its tone.
There are also various ways you can prevent or at least limit the damaging effects of UV radiation. I advise wearing sunscreen on any sun-exposed parts of the body, seeking out cosmetic products that contain sunscreen, always wearing polarized sunglasses with UV protection, and covering as many areas with clothing as you comfortably can. Follow the American Academy of Dermatology’s advice and buy water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Apply sunscreen at least 20 minutes prior to any sun exposure, then again every two hours or when you get wet. Be mindful of the time you spend outdoors, and set reminders to reapply sunscreen when you are.
A healthful diet can also contribute to how your skin responds to sunlight. A diet rich in antioxidants & vitamins, such as those contained in seasonal fruits & vegetables, can remove toxins from your system and promote healthy liver function. Drinking lots of water also helps with this, in addition to keeping the moisture balance in your body & skin at healthy levels.
If you’d like to learn about the procedures I perform, contact me, Dr. James Namnoum, to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and come back to the blog soon for more advice and information on looking your best.