The sun allows almost all life on Earth to exist. But too much of a good thing is not such a good thing. If you spend large amounts of time soaking up the sun’s rays, the ultraviolet wavelengths can seriously damage your skin.
At Eterna Vein & Medical Aesthetics in Puyallup, Washington, our expert team of aestheticians sees our fair share of sun-damaged skin, but we’ve got an ace up our sleeve — the Icon™ laser, which addresses a whole host of skin problems. Here’s what you need to know.
What problems are associated with sun-damaged skin?
Overexposure to UV light causes a whole host of conditions, including:
Premature skin aging: fine lines and wrinkles from collagen depletion
Excessive bruising from minor trauma
Hyperpigmentation: freckles, sun spots (age spots), liver spots
White spots on legs, arms, and back of hands
Rosacea: enlarged blood vessels that produce reddish patches
Moles: some can develop into skin cancer
Precancerous lesions: actinic keratosis on face and actinic cheilitis on lips
While many of these are simply cosmetic concerns, moles and precancerous lesions can develop into squamous cell carcinoma — skin cancer. That’s why it’s important to treat skin damage if you have it, or prevent it if you don’t.
How an Icon laser can treat sun damage
The Icon laser employs a number of technologies, including:
XF™ Microlens: resurfaces damaged skin
XD™ Microlens: treats more serious skin problems (e.g., moles and keratoses)
Advanced Contact Cooling™: uses a sapphire tip so your outer skin layers remain cool and undamaged
Skintel™: allows for accurate adjustments of wavelengths for skin and treatment types
The Icon laser replaces all the individual devices formerly used to treat each different skin condition separately. It’s a form of intense pulsed light therapy, which uses multiple wavelengths of light at the same time to target a number of skin issues. The Icon uses wavelengths that target the different tissue types contained within your skin, such as blood, water, and melanin (pigment), which address the many aspects of sun damage all at the same time.
The Icon laser is nonablative, meaning it penetrates the outer skin layers without destroying them, coming to rest in the middle (dermis) layer, which contains many of the sun-damaged cells. There, the light energy is converted to heat energy that’s absorbed by the melanin that causes hyperpigmentation, and the blood vessels that cause rosacea, breaking them up into smaller pieces that are eventually flushed out of the body.
The heat also stimulates the production of collagen, a fibrous protein responsible for keeping your skin supple and toned, but whose production naturally starts to decline after about age 25. The new collagen fills in fine lines and wrinkles, as well as acne scars, leaving your face smoother and younger-looking.
Following treatment, your skin may be slightly swollen and red, just like a mild sunburn. You can relieve any pain with over-the-counter pain relievers and swelling with cold compresses. Wash your skin using a mild soap, and always apply sunscreen if you’re going out in the sun. You should continue to use sunscreen, even as you see the blemishes fade and disappear over the coming weeks, since you don’t want to damage your skin any further.
If you have sun-damaged skin, you don’t have to live with it; the Icon laser can treat the damage and leave you blemish-free. To learn more, and to set up a consultation with one of our aestheticians, give the office a call at 253-268-3400 today.