Where do I start to treat all this sun damage? Atlanta dermatologist or Plastic Surgeon? Anyone with recommendations? (photo)

I have sun damage on my face & all over. Lots of time in the sun & Tanning beds over the last 20 years. I was a Tan Mom. Addicted & now my skin is ruined. My derm is considered one of the best in Atlanta but he will not address my cosmetic concerns. Seems he is busy with skin cancer & Mohs. I went out on my own and tried dermabrasion & Skin Classic Treatment but not much improvement. I need an ATLANTA derm or PS willing to help with my severe sun damage. Under eyes fat pads are also a problem.

Doctor Answers (6)

Treat skin damage


Your best result will be with a plastic surgeon specializing in cosmetic treatments of the skin and well as surgery. I am one of them but certainly not the only one.

He or she can help with your eye bags as well.

Please do not treat yourself. 

Treatment takes time but I have had patients with dreadful skins that with a step-wise approach of skin care, peels and laser got fabulous skins, even after years of tanning. Do not despair. Just find a surgeon who works with the skin. 

Atlanta Plastic Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 21 reviews

Recommendations For The Treatment Of Sun Damaged Skin


This is a difficult problem to manage without a detailed examination but I will give it my best shot. True hyperpigmentation secondary to excessive solar damage is usually located on the temporal and cheek skin. It usually seems more pronounced in summer months because of a tanning of these effected areas. My method of choice is to first drastically reduce the pigment with 2 to 3 IPL (BBL) light treatments. Without using the intense light treatment first and relying strictly on the use of a topical lightening cream would take an extremely long time to notice a result. My recommendation would be as follows:

  1. Intense pulsed light (IPL, BBL) laser treatment. Will much more effectively reach the deeper skin layers and more effectively lighten the pigmented areas.
  2. After the above is done, then go to a topical skin bleaching cream (4%Hydroquinone) for maintenance and to help avoid a recurrence of the hyperpigmentation.
  3. Use sun-block because excessive solar exposure will worsen the problem and make the efforts in step 1 and 2 much less effective.
  4. For long term control (after 4 months) you can go to a 2% hydroquinone for long term maintenance.

Joseph Rucker, MD, FACS
Eau Claire Plastic Surgeon
3.5 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

Treatment of Sun Damage


Without a full examination, it is hard to determine exactly what you need. However, it appears that she have significant pigmentary abnormalities on your face as your main problem. Almost certainly, you will also have some dullness and thinning of the dermis (the support layer of the skin). I have been treating problems like this for over 25 years, and have found only one thing that really does improve the skin and rejuvenate it. That thing is the Obagi Nu-Derm skin care system. The system removes the dead cells, returning the luster to the skin, corrects the pigmentary abnormalities, thickens the dermis to prevent crinkles and wrinkles and protects the skin from further sun damage. There are many dermatologists and plastic surgeons in Atlanta using the Obagi system. Go to Obagi.com to find one near you. To improve your chances of really rejuvenating your skin, make sure the physician actually sees you. Being slightly North of Atlanta, I have found that many of the aestheticians there starting patient's on Obagi do not start them on the entire system or arrange for adequate follow-up. The latter is important since the Obagi system is a medical treatment for sun damage. That, however, is how it works so much better than other options which contain no FDA approved drugs. Though there are lasers etc. approved for treating sun damage, none of them treat the entire spectrum of damage like the Obagi system.

Robert T. Buchanan, MD
Highlands Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 4 reviews

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Sun damage and hyperpigmentation with Retinoid Repair Cream

Before you dive in and get aggressive treatments that are very costly, get your skin prepared with a retinoic based cream like Retinoid Repair Cram (see link below) and a regimen to help the hyperpigmentation with Melarase products (AM and PM). The retinoid creams are excellent in rejuvenating the skin and increasing skin turnover and along with the products that reduce pigmentation, you can then spend money to get IPL treatments, laser resurfacing or an Obagi Peel. Be patient, it is a process and it will take time. See the link I provided below where you can purchase the 'Tri Pack Package' 

Hratch Karamanoukian, MD, FACS
Buffalo General Surgeon
4.5 out of 5 stars 7 reviews

IPL or photo facial treatments for pigment and sun damaged to the face

Fortunately you do not have severe skin wrinkles over your face.  The IPL or photo facial treatment is the best for removing pigment caused by sun damage.  The new non-ablative fractional erbium laser is in the 1540, 1450, and 1565 nm range can also remove pigment and build new collagen in your skin.

Brooke R. Seckel, MD, FACS
Boston Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 34 reviews

Photo skin rejuvenation for sun damage and aging


Thank you for your question and the photos.

For definitive recommendations, you will need a full consultation in person. One option to consider is Broad Band Light therapy. It is good at reversing the signs of aging and sun damage, rejuvenating skin to a more youthful appearance.

See two or more board certified physicians for a complete evaluation before proceeding with treatments.

I hope this helps.

J. Jason Wendel, MD, FACS
Nashville Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 37 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.