Is it possible to reverse sun damaged skin?? Get skin back to the way it was prior to all the sun damage, nice and healthy?
Possible to Repair Sun Damaged Facial Skin?
Doctor Answers 4
Yes, it is. Methods can vary
You can dramatically improve the appearance of sun damaged skin. Medium to deep chemical peels work, as does 5-6 sessions of Fraxel. My personal favorite, however, is 1-2 sessions with the Total FX. It is also FDA approved to destroy pre-cancers, so you are treating both the cosmetic (lines, wrinkles, discoloration, sagging) while addresssing the more important issues of skin cancer.
It is important to be pre-treated and post-treated with a skin care regime individualized to your age, skin type and condition. The regular use of sunscreens and retinoids will prevent the sun damaging from worsening.
Sun Damaged Skin
The key word in this question is "reversible". While it may not be possible to completely reverse the effects of sun exposure, you can certainly improve your skin. Here are a few options.
- Q-switched lasers are THE GOLD STANDARD for removing pigmentation caused by sun exposure. As opposed to IPL treatments, q-switched lasers can permanently remove the pigment.
- Laser resurfacing such as CO2, Erbium and fractional resurfacing can go a long way toward improving the texture of the skin. They can also improve skin laxity (sagging).
- While we are not big proponents of skin tightening procedures, they are certainly an option for you - Thermage and Titan.
We would also recommend getting on a daily sunscreen regimen with no less than 30 SPF.
Repairing sun-damaged skin
You have several options when it comes to addressing sun-damaged skin including chemical peels, laser/light treatments including IPL and the fractionated ablative lasers, photodynamic therapy (ALA-PDT), as well as topical creams such as 5-Fluorouracil and Aldara. I agree with Dr. Lupo that the regular use of sunscreens and retinoids are part of a good preventive regimen.
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Sun Damaged Skin Treatment Goals
Your sun damaged skin can never be fully "restored" to what it was in your teen or early twenties before sun damage began. However, the changes in the skin due to sun damage - "sun spots", freckles, irregular pigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin, loss of skin elasticity and collagen content, etc. can all be repaired and the youthful glow and texture to the skin can be significantly improved. Depending on what the problem is in the skin many problems can be treated effectively with lasers (especially Fraxel re:Store and Fraxel re:Pair), chemical peels, etc. . Sometimes surgery (oftentimes in conjunction with lasers after the surgery) is required for more severe laxity and sagging of the skin. You need a full evaluation by a plastic surgeon well versed in all aspects of skin damage due to the sun, including surgical and non-surgical treatments to include use of lasers.
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.