Sun Damage and Skin Elasticity
California Skin Institute providers have extensive expertise in helping patients mitigate the effects of a weakened collagen and elastin fiber structure, by reinforcing skin elasticity through minimally-invasive treatments, as well as offering a number of surgical procedures for skin tightening. However, one of the best ways to reduce the need for such procedures is by taking preventative measures to protect your skin.* After years of performing corrective procedures that have helped thousands of patients, we have noticed a persistent trend; too many people fail to take adequate steps to prevent skin damage caused by sunlight, causing the skin’s support structures to deteriorate too quickly.
In this educational installment, we discuss the effects of sunlight on collagen and elastin, as well as steps that can be taken to prevent such damage. If you’d like to speak to one of our expert providers about the best skin care routine in your situation, or if you’d like help with addressing skin elasticity concerns, please call a California Skin Institute practice near you, or send us an email through the Contact Form.
How the Sun Affects Skin Elasticity
Although the natural aging process gradually reduces our skin elasticity (through a decreased number of fibroblasts, among other factors), the sun also plays a big role in this process. Unfortunately, this is a topic that isn’t discussed enough in the media and mainstream culture. What many Americans don’t realize is that the sun has a profound effect at the deeper layers of the skin, leading to significant deterioration of the skin’s support network. Fortunately, a large part of this effect is preventable with the right sunscreen and lifestyle habits.
The sun emits multiple types of UV radiation, including UVA, UVB and UVC. The latter, UVC, is the most dangerous because it carries the most energy. Fortunately, however, the majority of UVC radiation is blocked by the ozone layer, and doesn’t reach Earth’s surface.
That leaves us with the other major culprits: UVA and UVB radiation.
Sunscreen can work very well at blocking UVA and UVB radiation, but the problem is that many of today’s sun block products are only meant to protect against UVB radiation, which is a major cause of skin cancer.
Unfortunately, however, UVA radiation is also a big problem. It affects the skin at deeper layers, where it affects collagen and other skin structures, thus making the skin less resilient against the effects of gravity. To mitigate these effects, it is vital to use a broad spectrum sunscreen that offers protection against both UVB and UVA radiation.
Treating Elasticity-Related Sun Damage
California Skin Institute providers offer a number of treatment options to lift sagging skin and strengthen the skin’s collagen and elastin support network. It’s very important to keep in mind that each patient’s situation is unique and requires a custom treatment plan that considers the patient’s goals, ability to take time off work for recovery, and personal preferences. California Skin Institute providers go to great lengths to help each patient find the most comfortable solution that best fits their needs.
- Ultherapy: This is a minimally-invasive treatment option that relies on ultrasound waves to tighten the skin by heating up deeper layers of the skin structure. Often, just one treatment is enough to produce a dramatic improvement in skin elasticity, and many patients begin to see improvements right after treatment, with further improvement occurring gradually over the coming days and weeks.1 The effects of Ultherapy treatments can last for up to one year, after just one treatment session.
- Fraxel Dual and Fraxel re:pair: California Skin Institute providers can use the Fraxel lasers to stimulate collagen production in the dermal layer of the skin. The bursts of energy delivered by this laser cause micro-damage in the dermis, thus stimulating the body’s healing response.* As the skin heals, it produces more collagen, thus creating a lifting effect. The Fraxel Dual laser has minimal downtime whereas the re:pair repair laser is the more aggressive laser that requires approximately a week of downtime, though individual experiences may vary.
- Ultrapulse Carbon Dioxide Laser Resurfacing: California Skin Institute has been performing this gold standard laser resurfacing procedure since 1995. Dr. Morganroth was one of the first doctors to offer this procedure that creates dramatic reduction of skin wrinkles and reduction of pigmentation and texture changes. This procedure utilized the original technology that remains the gold standard for over 20 years.
- Surgery: When minimally-invasive treatment may not be enough to address skin elasticity issues, California Skin Institute providers can administer a variety of surgical treatments to lift sagging skin. Depending on the patient’s concerns, our providers can achieve dramatic improvements through procedures like the face lift, brow lift, and neck lift, among others. California Skin Institute providers are experts when it comes to achieving outcomes that look natural and produce minimal scarring. Dr. Morganroth is the innovator of the local anesthesia Vertical Vector Face Lift that provides a dramatic and more natural rejuvenation outcome.
- Intense Pulsed Light (IPL): Another treatment option for improving skin elasticity involves targeted treatments with Intense Pulsed Light devices. Treatments with IPL focus on heating up structures within the dermis, to strengthen existing collagen fibers, and stimulate the body to produce more of this protein fiber. A typical patient will need several treatments, with outcomes appearing gradually.
- Microneedling: Moderate skin elasticity issues can also be addressed with microneedling, a treatment that stimulates collagen production with tiny needles. California Skin Institute providers use a special device called MicroPen, which uses very thin, short needles to rapidly make tiny puncture wounds in the skin. This stimulates the body’s immune system and healing response, causing the skin to produce more collagen. Further, your provider may suggest using special serums during the process, allowing ingredients that promote collagen health to be delivered deeper into the skin.
Taking the Next Step
It is never too late to start taking preventative measures to protect your skin from the sun. If you’d like to learn more about the best skin care routine steps in your situation, or if you’d like help reversing some of your current skin damage, please schedule an appointment at a California Skin Institute practice near you, or drop us a note through the Contact Form.
Individual results may vary and are not guaranteed.
References: 1. Noninvasive skin tightening: focus on new ultrasound techniques. Sabrina Guillen Fabi. 2015