Sun Risks

Sunshine Days: Keep your skin young and fresh, all summer long

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 21.08.2009 15:30:08 (updated on 21.08.2009) Reading time: 4 minutes

There are not many people who don´t like sun and the nice, warm sensation you feel when the rays touch your face. Sun makes us happier, more relaxed and is definitely beneficial to our health; but nothing is perfect. Whether you just got back or you´re still planning your holidays in the sun read through these tips carefully.

The risk of rays

Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays that heat up your skin, cooking the collagen and elastin. UVB rays (think B for burn) are short in length and hit the skin’s surface, resulting in redness and burning. Contrary to popular belief, sunburns alone aren’t the cause of skin damage; they’re an immediate indication that you’re hurting yourself — and a warning to get out of the sun.

UVA rays (think A for aging) are long and penetrate deep into the skin; damaging cells and producing wrinkles, uneven skin tone, dryness and other signs of aging.

How to treat your skin at home

Sun damage speeds up the aging process. Exfoliants and skin-repair creams can slow the clock. Scrubs, exfoliant pads and mild chemical peels help get rid of dull, flaky skin (a normal sign of aging that appears greatly magnified after UV exposure) and improves the way skin looks tremendously. Vitamin A creams quicken cell turnover and can stimulate collagen and hyaluronic-acid production so the skin is plumper and moister.

If your skin could use a little extra care you might want to consider one of these treatments. If you have:

Uneven Skin: Pigment makes cells go haywire, resulting in spots.
Solutions: Intense pulsed light (IPL™), chemical peels, exfoliants and laser treatments.

Redness: UV exposure causes broken capillaries and may lead to rosacea.
Solutions: IPL™Photofacial treatments and mineral makeup.

Fine lines and wrinkles: Damage to collagen and elastin makes skin sag and crease.
Solutions: IPL™, superficial application of hyaluronic acid fillers (MesoTherapy), laser treatment, Radio Frequency (RF) treatments and vitamin A.

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Big pores: Loss of collagen enlarges pores.
Solutions: Exfoliants, Chemical peels, IPL™Photofacial treatments and vitamin A.

Thick skin: The body tries to protect itself, so skin ends up leathery
Solutions: Exfoliants and chemical peels.

Dullness: Damaged skin is drier and flakier.
Solutions: Exfoliants, IPL™Photofacial treatments, Chemical peels, vitamin A and antioxidants.

Five Ways to Save Face

Put your best face forward and consider some of these recommendations:

Chemical Peels: use acids to remove dry, dull skin; even out tone and reduce pore size.
Results: Spots are lighter but still visible. Pores look tighter; skin glows.

Intense Pulsed Light Photofacial (IPL™): gets rid of dark spots and early wrinkling.
Results: IPL™ feels like static electricity on skin, which looked noticeably firmer.

MesoTherapy (superficial application of hyaluronic acid fillers): hydrates and restores balance in the skin. It also has a lifting effect.
Results: Skin looks fresher and firmer.

Radio Frequency: tightens skin to correct sagging.
Results: Skin feels hot during treatment and may be sensitive afterward, but there’s no redness. We notice significant tightening and lifting.

Lasers: heat the lower layer of the skin to help generate new collagen and reduce pigment production.
Results: Skin burns, swells and may peel; results can vary and there may be discoloration.

Don´t forget

The effects of these treatments will last longer for some people than others. The length of treatment results varies depending on the severity of your skin damage and your lifestyle (how well you protect and have protected your skin from the sun.)

Prevent future damage

While you may not be able to completely undo past damage; don´t let´s the sun´s rays affect your skin anymore!

Broad-Spectrum Sunscreen: Look for a block that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Ingredients like Mexoryl and Helioplex offer longer-lasting UVA protection.

Mineral Makeup: Minerals like titanium dioxide and zinc create a sheer physical block against the sun. Minerals also reflect light, so the face gets less red and appears more radiant.

Antioxidants: For extra protection, apply an antioxidant serum before sunscreen. Antioxidants can prevent and reverse sun damage. Vitamin C, idebenone and green tea are among the most effective and proven to shield skin from harmful rays.

And never ever:

Slack off on the sunscreen: Apply it all the way to your hairline or you’ll end up with a ring of damage (and darker skin) around your face.

Get into a tanning bed: True, beds have less UVB and reducing burning. But you can’t escape UVA damage.

Believe you’re safe in the shade: UVA light reflects which leaves you susceptible to wrinkle-causing damage, even in a not-so-sunny spot.

Fly naked: Plane windows don’t filter out UVA. At high altitudes the sun’s rays are three times stronger than on the ground. Wear sun block!

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A version of this article will appear in the September 2009 issue of The Bridge, the monthly magazine of the International Women’s Association of Prague.  To learn more about IWAP go to www.iwa-prague.com.

For more information: MYCLINIC prague, private clinic for cosmetic dermatology. Panska 5, 110 00 Prague 1, T:(+420) 296 827 530, www.myclinic.cz, info@myclinic.cz

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