WHY ARE THE SUN’S RAYS MORE HARMFUL AFTER COSMETIC PROCEDURES?
We all know the importance of protecting our skin against the harmful effects of the sun; UVA and UVB rays can cause premature aging of the skin, unsightly wrinkles, sun spots and even skin cancer. However, what many people are unaware of is the increased risk of sun damage for those who have undergone a cosmetic procedure.
Although you should be protecting your skin with sun screen all year round, if you’ve had a surgical or non-surgical cosmetic procedure you should be taking particularly great care when exposed to the sun’s rays.
HOW DOES THE SUN AFFECT YOUR SKIN?
The UV (ultraviolet) light emitted by the sun has a number of harmful long and short-term effects. After short exposure to the sun, you may experience the following symptoms caused by exposure to the sun’s radiation:
• Mole development
Although we tend to put up with these short-term effects as a ‘normal’ part of being out in the sun, the long-term affects are much more unpleasant. Long-term UV exposure can cause:
• Skin cancer
• Melasma (skin discoloration)
• Blood vessel dilation
• Dullness of skin
• Wrinkle development
• Premature aging
WHY DO COSMETIC TREATMENTS INCREASE THE RISK OF SUN DAMAGE?
Many cosmetic treatments, both surgical and non-surgical, leave the skin in a particularly vulnerable state as it recovers from the treatment. This means that it is more susceptible to serious damage when exposed to the UV radiation.
Laser resurfacing, micro-needling, chemical peels and other non-surgical skin rejuvenation treatments are designed to cause trauma to the skin. This trauma is highly controlled to stimulate healing and the growth of new, healthy, rejuvenated cells, but during the healing process the skin is incredibly sensitive and more prone to damage from the sun. Wrinkles, discoloration and dullness can all occur much more easily on skin which is already damaged and delicate.
When it comes surgical procedures such as face lifts or neck lifts, skin which has been scarred by the procedure is particularly prone to sunburn. This means that scars may become permanently darker and more noticeable than they would if sun exposure was avoided.
HOW CAN I PROTECT SKIN AGAINST UV RAYS AFTER A COSMETIC PROCEDURE?
Keeping your skin safe after a procedure is easy; it just takes a little extra care and consideration.
• Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or above
• Keep treated skin covered with appropriate clothing or a wide-brimmed hat
• Avoid going out for long periods when the sun is at its hottest, generally this is between 10am and 2pm
• Be mindful of exposing skin to UV rays when sitting besides windows at home or in the car
• Take precautions on both sunny and overcast days, as UV rays are still harmful, even when the sun isn’t shining