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Sun Damage

Skin ageing occurs due to a combination of intrinsic (inside the body) and extrinsic (outside the body) factors. Intrinsic factors are genetically programme and generally outside of our control. Extrinsic factors include smoking, excessive alcohol, poor nutrition, stress and sun exposure. These factors can be modified. chronic sun exposure contributes 80% of what we consider premature skin ageing. In Australia as well as in other countries, a ‘healthy tan” is sought after and considered attractive. The long term effects however are not so desirable.
Sun damaged skin is seen on exposed areas of the face, neck, upper chest, arms and hands.

Sun damage (UV ray exposure) causes loss and breakage of collagen and elastin. Glycosaminoglcans which include hyaluronic acid (HA) are found in the skin normally and hold up to 1000 times their volume in water. They are reduced as a result ofageing and sun exposure. The skin becomes thin with loss of tone, elasticity and hydration. The skin becomes saggy.

Sun damage causes uneven pigmentation (freckles, sun spots)to occur as the skin tries to protect itself from UV radiation. UV radiation increases risk of skin cancers forming as well as non-cancer lesions such as keratosis(rough warty patches), telangiectasias (visble spider veins) and skin tags. This occurs because the skin becomes slower at repairing the damage caused by the sun and replacing with healthy new cells.

Blood vessels become weak and fragile causing bruising and redness. Damaged blood vessels are not able to provide nutrients to the skin efficiently. This causes skin to become dull and pale.

Free radicals are chemicals created by UV exposure, pollution, stress, smoking and normal metabolic processes. They are a major cause of the ageing process. These substances cause breakdown of collagen and elastin and build-up of damaged elastin.

Sun damage causes many negative effects:

  • Dry and roughskin
  • Wrinkling
  • Pale and dull skin
  • Dark and light spots
  • Freckles
  • Unattractive pigmentation
  • Loose, fragile and sagging skin
  • Benign non- cancerous skin lesions – skin tags
  • Red spots (cherry angiomas)
  • Seborrheic keratosis
  • Lentigos (sun spots)
  • Fragile blood vessels
  • Spider veins and telangiectasias
  • Skin cancer including dangerous melanoma

A number of treatments are available to prevent, repair and reverse the damage caused by sun exposure.

Daily sunscreen even if in doors and sun avoidance (between 10am and 4pm) is highly advisable, along with avoiding tanning beds. Generally, reducing exposure to the sun will also prevent further damage. Older skin has also lost melanocyte cells which protect the skin from cancer forming UV light. This makes older skin more susceptible to forming skin cancers. Therefore, it is never too late to start protecting the skin with sunscreen. Wearing broad-rimmed hat and protective clothing, UV protection on car windows are other sensible preventative measures.

Repairing sun damaged skin can be achieved with the use of medical grade peels – to help remove damaged skin and encourage the growth of healthy skin cells. We also recommend that an individual skin care plan and treatment is put into place in order to manage dry, sensitive skin as well as protect new skin. This skin care plan may also include the use of Antioxidant skin care, peels, and dietary supplements. Improving collagen synthesis can be achieved with the use of vitamin C and glycolic acid peels. We may also recommend the use of Laser Treatment in order to resurface your skin as well as encourage collagen production. In some cases, minor surgical procedures may be needed in order to manage non-cancerous skin lesions. It is important therefore, that you undertake regular and thorough skin cancer checks in the management and early diagnosis of skin cancers. Treatment to manage pigmentation will be in the form of Lasers, IPL, and fading creams depending upon the individual pigmentation and skin type.

We also utilise Injectables to improve wrinkles and sagging skin and encourage the formation of new collagen. Please remember though however, that the use of injectables will only be recommended after a thorough skin consultation and performed only by Dr Saliba.

Finally, your treatment may include skin needling which is used to encourage collagen production, thicken the skin and help with pigmentation.

Sun exposure is the number one cause of sun damaged and ageing skin. Many treatments are available that may help with this problem.  A full clinical assessment of the skin and other contributing factors is necessary to formulate an individualised treatment plan to reverse, repair and prevent sun damaged skin. At Le Sands Clinic we pride ourselves on providing a thorough assessment and appropriate and safe plan to help you reach your goals and long lasting solutions. Contact the clinic for an  initial free consultation with one of our skin care experts. Call 02 9567 0399 or email us

Call us on 02 9567 0399 or e-mail us on

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