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At least 90% of us have had sunburn at least once in our lives. Sunburn is an inflammatory response on the skin as a result of over exposure to the sun.

How does sunburn occur?

Well, sunburn occurs when the ultraviolet rays of the sun destroy skin cells in the outer layer of the skin while damaging tiny blood vessels underneath. Although sunburn is more common in caucasian skin, darker skin is also at risk, however darker skin naturally has more protection from the sun because it contains higher levels of melanin.

Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin its color and helps protect the cells from some forms of sun damage. This makes people with darker skin, less likely to experience sunburn.

Research shows that in darker skins 70 % of melanomas have been reported to be on the lower limb, with 90% of those being below the ankle.

Skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and SA has one of the highest monitored ultra violet (UV) levels in the world, resulting in one of the highest skin cancer rates globally. Most people feel or believe that if they are under an umbrella that they will be protected from the UV rays of the sun, unfortunately with the Ozone damage and reflection off surfaces or even water can cause sunburn.

 

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Be mindful of it being overcast as the UV rays are still present due to the colder weather and people not feeling the heat of the sun, it is very common for people to assume that they will not get sunburnt. Over time, these rays can lead to wrinkles, dark spots, and other problem areas, as a result, you can add years to your looks. Research shows that UV exposure is the reason behind 80% of your skin’s ageing.

Are there any ways that you can turn back the clock?

Fortunately, you can over time reverse sun damage, however just as Rome was not built in a day, your years of damage cannot be recovered in one session. It is vital to have a diligent routine of high quality, preferable organic, SPF that is reapplied every three hours, along with other forms of protection, are vital for these effects to be long term.

As we treat the skin and the damage is removed and repaired, that is the new state or condition of your skin. Whatever new damage is caused worsens the skin and reverses the results one has achieved. It feels good to spend time in the sunshine, but it can take quite a toll on your skin.

Research shows that antioxidants makes the skin more supple and flexible and reduces sun-related wrinkles. Antioxidants stabilises your skin cells and allows them to function correctly, as well as enhances the effects of your sunscreen. Vitamin C and E as well as Ferulic and Beta-carotene can be found in fruits and vegetables, such as carrots. Spinach, cantaloupe and other organic foods, supplementation as well as medical products, are good sources of antioxidants. When you are working within, as well as topically, you strive for an optimal result within your health as well as your skin health.

Products such as Retinoids or vitamin A, boosts the amount of collagen in your skin, and forms as an exfoliant, boosting your desquamation rate. Be advised that when doing treatments such as laser, peels, microneedling and other advanced treatments, you need to stop products containing vitamin A, hydroquinone and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) for at least 4 days before the treatment and not continue for 5 days after.

Fruit acid and Chemical peels such as Pumpkin peels and Green peels are another form of treatment for pigmentation and post sun damaged skin. This treatment removes damaged cells from the upper layers of your skin. Skin-lightening creams with hydroquinone (specifically formulated by Dermatologists) can lighten the skin. Kojic and glycolic acids are two other ingredients that can help remove these marks too. Please be advised that these medical treatments work very well, however caution and diligent routine sun and skin care is required to obtain the desired results.

Laser therapy, such as BBL (Broadband Light) aims to treat the most common signs of aging and sun damage. What sets this non-ablative laser treatment apart is not only that we have the ability to change the wavelength of the laser light used, it treats the underlying layers of your skin, where most signs of aging occur.

How Forever Young BBL works:

BBL treatment is a non-invasive treatment that is designed to deliver a targeted broadband light to the deeper layers of the skin. One of the amazing things about this treatment is that with regular use, BBL can help turn back the clock on your face.

NanoLaserPeel is another method of treatment to repair sun damaged skin, this is the latest ultimate “modern peel”— with no chemicals, harsh grinds, or long appointments. This gentle laser peel instantly removes just the top layer of skin for beautiful results with just 1-2 days of downtime. The NanoLaserPeel from Sciton uses light energy to instantly remove the top layers of the skin at a controlled depth that also accelerates the skin’s own renewal process by activating special messenger cells, to increase your desquamation rate.

Micro-Needling treatments, also known as skin needling, or Collagen Induction Therapy (CID) is the latest innovation in medical skin needling and natural collagen induction therapy. This treatment creates microscopic incisions in the skin, allowing for the correctly formulated and client specific selected products to penetrate quicker and deeper into the skin.

PRP which is more commonly known as The Vampire Facial, is a treatment where platelets are activated to initiate the release of growth factors that promote tissue repair or regeneration and promote healing, thus sun damage and pigmentation can also be treated with this amazing Vampire Facial. PRP also stimulates stem cells to improve the quality of skin tone and texture by regenerating new capillaries to feed the skin.

So now we know that there are amazing treatments out there to combat the signs of aging but most importantly treat the years of sun damage that increases your risk of cancers, this does not mean you can be negligent, or lay for hours in the sun!

It is important to take note of the fact that everyone, regardless of racial or ethnic group, is at risk of getting skin cancer. Protect yourself from future UV harm with sun-safe habits. Avoid the sun between 10am and 3pm, and wear protective clothing and a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Apply a thick layer of sunscreen to your skin, reapply every 80 minutes when you are out and after swimming and sweating. If every 80 minutes sounds like a lot, think again as sunscreen is tested by applying a tablespoon size of sunscreen per area.

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Don’t forget that this always applies, even when it is overcast weather!

One can obtain optimal recovery, results and maintenance with a combination of healthy foods, correctly formulated products and amazing aesthetic treatments. The results one has achieved are maintained by ensuring you have a good maintenance routine of quality products and regular treatments that ensures your skin stays active with new cell production.

Most important, strict sun avoidance and liberal use of broad-spectrum sunscreens and clothing that protect against UVA, UVB, and visible light, are a must!

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Written By Skin & Laser Clinician Angie Chaplin

​For as long as Angie can remember she has always been passionate about the Skin Care and Aesthetic industry. While completing her International Degree, she worked at various clinics to build as much experience and additional knowledge as possible. Once Angie had completed her International Degree in Somatology in 2011, she specialized in Aesthetic and Laser treatments. She has been privileged to work closely with Doctors and Dermatologists throughout her career, and has had the blessing of providing training for other Aesthetic Somatologists as well as Medical Practitioners within the industry. Angie has also worked with a large variety of lasers and machines, and believes that a combination of different treatments and products are always the key to quickly achieve optimal results.