At Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C., our board-certified plastic surgeons help thousands of men and women find relief from the various signs of aging, and we know that preserving a youthful appearance begins with maintaining healthy skin. Although some of the causes of facial aging, like time and gravity, are ultimately unavoidable, others can be much easier to control. Ultraviolet light from the sun, for example, actually causes most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of aging, according to the American Academy of Dermatology. With summer right around the corner, we thought that it might be nice to give a little insight about how best to avoid and treat the damage that the sun can cause to your skin.
Many people do not realize that sunlight damages your skin in several different ways. According to numerous studies, even relatively short exposure to ultraviolent radiation can begin to break down the skin’s elastin, a highly elastic protein that makes it possible for the skin to “bounce back” after being stretched and folded. Without elastin, the fine lines that form as your face moves quickly become permanent wrinkles and folds that require facial injectable treatments or cosmetic plastic surgery to address. Sun exposure can also cause changes in the skin’s overall color and texture, leading to areas of uneven pigmentation, overall yellowish discoloration, or even the dilation of the small vessels underneath the skin. More significantly, damage from ultraviolet light can also adversely affect the DNA deep within the skin cells, impairing the skin’s natural ability to heal itself and potentially causing pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions. Lastly, sun damage does not heal over time, but instead slowly accumulates over the years. Even though as much as 80% of a person’s lifetime sun exposure can occur before the age of eighteen, the effects might not become noticeable until they are well into their forties or fifties. Chemical peels and Sciton® laser skin resurfacing treatments can often undo years of this progressive skin damage by gently removing layers of dead and damaged skin to reveal newer, fresher looking skin underneath. The process also stimulates natural collagen growth, further alleviating wrinkles and fine lines by helping to restore the skin’s youthful volume.
Protecting your skin with clothing, cosmetic products that contain sunscreen, and sun glasses that offer UV protection can help a great deal. The doctors at Atlanta Plastic Surgery recommend that patients use a sun screen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater (for UVB rays) and zinc oxide (for UVA rays) in order to get maximum protection, and that they apply sunscreen at least twenty minutes before sun exposure and every two hours thereafter or even more frequently if you are sweating or swimming. A healthy diet rich in seasonal fruits or vegetables, like berries, mangoes, and melons or asparagus, broccoli, and greens, can provide the antioxidants and vitamins necessary to support healthy liver function and remove toxins. Keeping yourself sufficiently hydrated will maintain critical moisture balance of the body and skin, and assist in detoxification, particularly if you are spending time in the sun. While there are several cosmetic plastic surgery procedures that can help to minimize, or in some cases even reverse, damage caused by the sun, most patients would undoubtedly prefer to keep the damage from ever occurring in the first place.
The aging process varies considerably from person to person, so if you have any questions about how best to address your own individual areas of concern, or about any of the various anti-aging procedures that we can provide, please contact Atlanta Plastic Surgery, P.C. at one of our Atlanta, Alpharetta, Cumming, or Newnan offices to schedule a consultation. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ for the latest plastic surgery news.