Treatment for sunlight induced alterations

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
Exposure to sunlight weakens the collagen (CAWL-uh-jihn) and elastin (eh-LASS-tihn) fibers which help keep your skin taut and elastic. As a result, the skin begins to sag and wrinkle. The sun may also induce pigment changes such as freckles and age spots, or cause hard, flaky growths known as actinic keratoses (ac-TIHN-ihk kehr-uh-TOE-seez). The most common treatments for sun damaged skin fall into three major categories: resurfacing, bleaching, and filling. Resurfacing includes a wide variety of methods, from products you can use at home to techniques performed at a doctor's office. Retinoid creams and topical products with 8 percent or more of alpha- hydroxy acid are often used to slough off dull surface skin and reveal a fresher complexion. This may soften the look of minor wrinkles and blotches as well. Faster improvement may be obtained with light or medium chemical peels and microdermabrasion, though repeat treatments are needed to maintain results. To correct considerable damage, laser resurfacing of the face may be needed. Spot laser treatment can be used to remove keratoses, spider veins, and age spots. Blotchiness from the sun may also be lightened with various prescription creams, such as those containing hydroquinone (hy-droh-KWIHN-ohn) and Retin-A®. Wrinkles and depressions may be plumped up with a filler like collagen or a permanent implant.

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