Many Seattle residents took in a lot of vitamin D during our unusually dry and hot summer. However, when we see ourselves in the mirror or in Zoom, many may discover that we have gained more than we bargained for – including fine lines, darker spots or spots, and dry, rough skin.
Dr. Kate Dee’s program at Glow Medispa in West Seattle is filled with people concerned about the effects of sun exposure in recent months. “It can be difficult to look at yourself on a Zoom call and see damage you haven’t noticed before,” she says.
A major concern after summer: sunspots. Also known as liver spots, these rounded, droplet-shaped, and flat pigmented areas build up on the face and hands and add years to a person’s appearance. Often times, sunspots tend to build up on the left side of the face, where the skin is exposed to the rays through the driver’s side window, Dee says, especially if you’ve spent time in sunnier climates like the Florida or Arizona.
The sun and summer heat can exacerbate existing skin conditions, such as rosacea redness and broken blood vessels on the cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead. Or melasma, which are larger brownish spots on the cheeks, forehead, upper lip, and chin.
And while a leather look is great for handbags, it’s not for faces. “At the end of summer, too much sun results in dry, scaly skin, which has more wrinkles,” says Dee. Athletes, gardeners, and other types of outdoors can struggle with the dry more than others.
If a brand new lesion has appeared this summer in a new location, it’s best to visit your dermatologist’s office for a quick assessment, she warns. But for most problems, a Seattle skin care professional may have the anti-aging solution.
Treat summer skin
Dee’s approach is based on a holistic assessment of the skin type and underlying conditions. While skin care products and in-office procedures can work together, some problems can’t be treated with topicals alone – melasma, for example, and multiple sun spots. “It’s hard to progress with just skin care if someone has a lot of sun damage,” says Dee.
In-office treatments tend to be more effective in these situations. Dee’s office relies on three main approaches.
Peel: Good for all skin types and a good fit for those with sun spots, melasma, and acne. A gentle exfoliating chemical is applied to the face. Within a few days, the surface of the skin begins to peel away, taking with it any pigmentary damage. “In a week, the skin is really different,” says Dee. “Our peels are very effective and safe for all skin types.”
Broadband Light Photorejuvenation (BBL): BBL uses a machine to zap targeted brown and red pigmented lesions. Typically, dark spots form on the surface and then begin to dry out after a few days, revealing fresh skin. This treatment is suitable for many people with lighter skin types and / or younger people whose concerns are limited to color and tone.
Laser treatment: Soft laser energy resurfaces the skin, stimulates collagen production and reduces fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage. Often a good choice for those with multiple forms of summer skin problems and those concerned about anti-aging and prevention. With this treatment, patients experience slight redness of the skin for about 24 hours and a sandpaper-like skin texture for up to seven days, but it is not a visually noticeable treatment like a peel. The laser resurfacing treatment is safe for fair to medium skin tones.
Treatments generally take place over three sessions, as the best results and patient comfort only require a portion of skin renewal at each visit. The recommended treatment depends on the skin type, the skin conditions involved and the individual. For example, someone who cannot help peeling the skin would not be a good candidate for a peel – it must be left alone or the scarring could adversely affect the result.
The skin type is based on the production of melanin, which also acts as sun protection. Some of the worst sun damage is seen in fair-skinned redheads, Dee says. Those with darker skin should be especially careful in the office of any skin care professional, notes Dee. For people with medium to dark skin, careless use of BBL or lasers can leave hyperpigmentation (darker spots) or hypopigmentation (intense lasers kill pigments, leaving white spots).
After the series of procedures are completed, topical creams can help preserve the results of the procedure, but staying out of the sun is essential. Ideally, affected clients learn how to protect the skin and maintain the fragile, resilient barrier. Dee recommends exfoliation of skin cells, along with vitamin C and antioxidant treatments to build collagen and fight sun damage. Layering moisturizer and sunscreen during the day provides continued defense, and using retinol at night helps fight aging.
Most clients are concerned about the post-summer face, but the hands are often the next to receive BBL treatment. Hands often don’t get as much sun protection as other parts of the body, Dee says, so hands can appear more visibly wrinkled, dry, and sun-stained, unlike a newly rejuvenated face.
“We have a lot of tools and can accommodate anyone,” she says. “We can find an effective and viable solution to skin care problems, even those that you don’t think you can do much about. “
TO Éclat Medispa, we are guided by science, and everything we do is informed by the latest information and data available. We carry out a personalized assessment for each patient and strive to bring out your natural beauty.