But thankfully, the latest treatment options allow women to repair damage and tighten skin without weeks of downtime due to redness — a typical side effect for other laser treatments.
One cutting-edge laser treatment is known as elōs®, which offers two separate treatments in one machine that can be used on the face, neck, hands and chest. An IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) laser repairs sunspots or other discoloration issues. A sublative laser uses radiofrequency technology to create a cone of thermal heating that gets down into the dermis to help the body regrow collagen to reduce wrinkling and improve overall skin tone and texture. These treatments can be done one after the other for added benefit.
“When people get rid of the brown patches on their skin it just looks so much healthier, with a more youthful appearance,” said Valerie Flynn, MD, Dermatologist with Avera Medical Group Dermatology. “Then when you decrease fine lines and wrinkles with the sublative step, you can see very significant results.”
The sublative treatment creates a microscopic grid across the skin but leaves minimal damage to the epidermis, meaning that the recovery time is much less — about four days versus a few weeks (typical for other fractionated lasers), Flynn said. Patients will typically experience redness for four to five days.
In addition to fine lines and pigmentation, the elōs can also treat acne scars.
While some people take off a day or two to heal, Jana Johnson, MD, Dermatologist with Avera Medical Group Dermatology Sioux Falls, had the procedure herself and was back the next day with minimal redness.
“You can certainly walk around afterward,” Johnson added.
Elōs is just one option for repairing sun damage, ranging from facials to more long-term results such as laser treatments.
• A prescription retinoid can smooth and tighten skin
• Botox® can help smooth wrinkles and also can be a preventive measure
• Chemical peels can help to brighten the skin
• Photofacials remove excess pigment from the skin and other sun damage
• Laser treatments can help with skin discoloration and tightening of the skin
The best treatment, however, is prevention during the teens, 20s and 30s. Johnson and Flynn recommend using sunscreen daily — 30 SPF or higher — and always being sure to reapply it every two hours.
“I can’t say it enough — sunscreen, sunscreen, sunscreen,” Johnson said. “Everything we’re fixing now for women in their 50s and 60s is almost all entirely sun related. Unfortunately, most of us start thinking about our skin kind of late.”
For everyday care, in addition to sunblock, most women should find a good moisturizer. A prescription retinoid can help maintain a younger, healthier look, Johnson said.
Tips for healthy looking skin
• Wear a broad spectrum sunblock, 30 SPF or higher
(Moisturizer with sunblock works well, too)
• Apply prescription retinoid at night
• Drink plenty of water to keep skin hydrated
• Get plenty of sleep
• Avoid habits that can age skin such as smoking, sun tanning