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Preventing and treating sun damaged skin

Dr. Jazayeri, is a board certified dermatologist and co-founder of Physician Laser Centers in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Jazayeri practices general and cosmetic dermatology, with emphasis on skin cancer detection and surgeries using Mohs tech...

sun damange control

Sun exposure plays a critical role in premature aging of the skin and, along with genetics, is oftentimes the main culprit in the development of fine lines, wrinkles and other unappealing skin conditions. This summer, get hip about sun exposure and learn what you can do to prevent and treat sun-damaged skin.

Woman applying sunscreen

Avoiding sun exposure can be tricky

Sunscreen isn't just for tanning beds or sunbathing!

Slathering on sunscreen and wearing a hat while relaxing poolside has become common practice for a lot of women; however, sun exposure during daily activities, such as sun exposure through driving with the windows down, dining outdoors, etc. can accumulate over time. Apply a broad spectrum sunscreen to daily to your hands, chest, arms and legs to shield your skin from unsolicited exposure. Dozens of national brand moisturizing body lotions have formulas that include a broad spectrum sunscreen - just be sure that the formula provides moderate coverage and that you reapply to your hands after washing.

Genes have a larger role than you think

Understanding your skin type

Just like eye color, your skin's resilience to sun exposure is largely due to genetics. Skin types vary from fair to dark and assigned a numerical value of one to six. Knowing your skin type will help you understand how your skin will respond to ultraviolet light exposure and can also help you assess the length of time you spend enjoying outdoor activities without burning.

Skin type effect on treatment

Skin type also plays a role in determining how your skin will respond to non-invasive cosmetic laser procedures that combat sun damage, such as Fraxel Restore or FotoFacial -- two of the most commonly performed procedures for improving fine lines, wrinkles, skin elasticity and skin discoloration. In most cases, lighter skin tones respond better to laser treatments.

Hip sunless alternatives

Go organic

There are hundreds of bronzing solutions and creams available on the market today that will give your skin a sun-kissed glow without ultraviolet light exposure; however, organic product lines are a welcomed trend in the body bronzing industry. Sunless tanning products range in price and availability, and results vary, depending on the application process.

Organic airbrush tanning is a favorite amongst women looking for a natural look since the solution is applied by a professional who can adjust the application amount to achieve variation consistent with natural exposure. Organic airbrush tanning is also ideal for women who have had breast cancer.

Damage control

Treatment options

No matter your age, a good regimen that includes sun protection and a few great skincare products is an excellent foundation for avoiding premature aging. Products with AHA and glycolic, regular exfoliation and light microderm abrasion treatments can also work wonders when used to treat skin.

Does laser treatment work?

Over the past four years, the use of non-invasive laser treatments to correct and improve skin damage has increased dramatically largely due to the minimal risks and downtime associated with the procedures. Fraxel laser technology is gaining popularity for improving aging and damaged skin because treatments, delivered in a series, target only a fraction of the skin's surface area each time, resulting in less downtime than laser or chemical options that treat the entire surface area at one time. When evaluating laser treatment options, be sure to evaluate the experience of your laser technician since factors like skin tone can dramatically influence your desired results.

Related video: What's your skin tone

A makeup artist demonstrates how to determine your natural skin tone.

More sunscreen advice

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