By: Smita Desouza
Everybody makes mistakes. You’ve had a few Pimm’s, you’re enjoying the day by the pool or at the beach with your friends and the meat’s on the barbie; it’s an idyllic day. Before you know it, your skin’s turning red and feels like it’s burning up. You, my friend, have spent too long in the sun.
Sadly, that’s not where the damage ends. Recent studies have shown that damage to your DNA continues for hours afterwards. According to DR SYLVIA RAMIREZ, Medical and Scientific Director at Cutis Medical Laser Clinics, “UV exposure also increases the production of several types of collagen-degrading enzymes, which results in the disorganised and clumped collagen seen in photo-aged skin. UV radiation also ages the skin’s elastic fibres, reducing its elasticity and resilience.”
Simply put, that single outing in the sun just added a few years to the age of your skin. And it’s not just your skin that’s affected. Your hair takes a beating too.
“Sunlight dehydrates the outer layer of your hair, leaving it dull, weak and brittle. When open cuticles (caused by colouring or excessive styling) are exposed to the sun, UV rays penetrate the inner layer making the damage worse,” says JACKY DOUGLAS, stylist and colourist at Expat Hair Studio.
So what’s a girl to do? First things first: cool the body by getting into a cold shower or soaking in a cold bath. If you don’t have access to either, apply a cold, damp towel to the affected area for 10 minutes every hour. This will help get the heat out.
Next, hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Start by drinking lots of water. Then, replenish lost moisture from your skin with an intense moisturising mask like the Aesop Blue Chamomile Facial Hydrating Mask. Its anti-inflammatory and hydrating ingredients include panthenol, witch hazel, bisabolol, rosemary leaf and lavender oils help calm the skin, while strengthening it and restoring its elasticity. Dermalogica After Sun Repairalso helps to cool the skin, while moisturising ingredients speed up recovery from a burn.
Don’t ignore your hands and legs. Heal damaged skin with Daylong After Sun Repair that supports the skin’s own repair mechanism to prevent it becoming dry and stretched. And treat your hair to a deep hydrating mask like the Kérastase Chronologiste Crème De Régénération. Vitamins A and E, ceramides and powerful scalp-regenerating molecules give new life to dry strands while protecting them from further damage.
After too much sun exposure, avoid physical and chemical exfoliators, or anti-ageing skin care with retinol or acids, as they may irritate the skin further. Instead, you can limit the damage with an antioxidant like Skin Ceuticals Resveratrol B E, which contains a combination of stabilised resveratrol, vitamin E and baicalin. It not only sops up free radicals, but also increases firmness and elasticity by promoting the skin’s natural repair system to minimise signs of accumulated damage and strengthen it against further harm. Finally, don’t forget to reapply sunscreen the next time you’re out in the sun.
When you’ve gone too far
If you’ve spent your younger years catching the sun’s rays at the beach and enjoying nothing more than lounging by the pool, you could see your freckles turning to permanent age spots and the first signs of photo-damage. In such cases it’s best to seek help from the experts.
Sunburn isn’t the only thing that’s causing your blemishes. Other environmental factors, intrinsic ageing, hormones – even your veins – all play a role in causing pigmentation. The good news though, is that it can be treated.
All you have to do is target the root cause. When you are faced with heat, stress or hormonal imbalances, your veins expand, causing a surge in melanin production that manifests in pigmented lesions. The DrPigment Twin Laser Program tackles both surface discolouration and the underlying cause of pigmentation.
The treatment involves a two-pronged approach. First surface discolouration is lightened with the Pigment N-Laser. Next, the Pigment Y-Laser uses green and yellow light to target melanin (the main component of pigmentation) and the underlying cause of pigmentation or “growth factor” that lies in our veins. This stops the veins from expanding whenever the body is under stress, and in the long run prevents the recurrence of pigmented lesions.
CSK Aesthetics is offering a starter programme for just $198 that includes one session each of N-Laser and Y-Laser, available at each of its five outlets. SMS “<N-3>” to 9710 8808 or call 6100 6886 for more details.
According to DR MAYBELLE TAN of The Belle Clinic, “Your skin registers every minute that you spend out in the sun, and it has a long memory.” Fortunately, it’s never too late to start protecting yourself from the sun and stop inflicting additional damage.
The Signature HIFU Advanced Anti-Aging Treatment is one of the ways you can restore sun-damaged skin. The bespoke treatment combines the latest second generation HIFU (High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) Double Pulse Technology with FDA-approved lasers for tightening and lightening. This activates the skin’s natural regenerative process to stimulate collagen production, which in turn tightens and lifts while improving skin tone as well as overall texture.
Depending on the areas of sun damage identified, you can choose to have either a targeted or full HIFU treatment combined with a full face laser – all done in a single session. Best of all, you’ll experience minimal discomfort and no significant downtime. As collagen continues to regenerate long after the treatment, you can expect your skin to remain more toned, firm and youthful for several months to a year.
The Belle Clinic is at #02-06 Orchid Hotel, 1 Tras Link (Tanjong Pagar).