It's not too late to fix your sun damaged skin just in time for fall!

INSTRUCTOR:

ALESSANDRA CERRO, patient consultant and medical esthetician at the Toronto Cosmetic Clinic; tcclinic.com

COURSE OUTLINE:

If you hid under a sun hat and sunglasses and rigorously applied sunscreen this summer, go to the head of the class. If you didn 't, and you 're paying the price with sun damage, it 's not too late to make up for lost time.

POP QUIZ

Q: What skin issues can sundamage cause?

A: The most common issue is hyperpigmentation and melasma, or worsening of pre-existing melasma, says Cerro. Sun damage can also cause redness, broken capillaries, dehydration and dryness. "And then there are the fine lines, which are attributed to the sun breaking down collagen and elastin in the skin." It doesn 't take a genius to realize sun exposure and good skin care simply don 't mix.

Q: Can I stop wearing sunscreen in the fall and winter?

A: Absolutely not! "Often, when we tell patients to avoid sun exposure prior to or following a treatment they say, 'I 'm never outside, I drive to work. ' But sun exposure can happen even through the windows of a car. It 's important to wear it all the time, no matter the season."

Q: What can I do if I 'm noticing sun-damage-related pigmentation problems?

A: "It depends on skin type, but photo facials are generally a good option. IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treats pigmentation, as well as broken capillaries and other forms of photo damage," says Cerro. An IPL session takes about half an hour, and the pulses feel like a slight snap against the skin, similar to an elastic band. A day or so of redness and swelling can sometimes result. "Some people experience darkening of their freckles, especially within the first few treatments, and then this will flake off in a few days," says Cerro. Post-IPL (also referred to as a photo facial), the skin absorbs sun more readily for two weeks afterward, so sunscreen is mandatory. "There 's no point having photo facials if you won 't stay out of the sun," says Cerro. Three to six treatments are recommended, at three - week intervals; a package of three costs $500.

Q: I don 't have time for several treatments. Is there anything I can do that involves only one or two clinic visits?

A: Dermamelan depigmentation treatment is another good way to treat hyper-pigmentation and melasma, says Cerro. "This is a mask we apply to the face. It has cogic acid, alpha arbutin and all the known pigment lighteners. It inhibits the enzyme that creates hyperpigmentation and is good for both superficial and deeper damage." It 's also safe for darker skin types, says Cerro. "The clay-like mask— it 's the colour of peanut butter—is worn at home for 12 hours. It 's applied in-clinic, and we give instructions for how to wash it off and what to do afterward." A day or so after removing the mask, peeling will begin. This will last for about a week, as more even and radiant skin is revealed. "At the two-week follow up we check to see where we can target specific areas and another 12-hour mask is applied," says Cerro. "But there will be no peeling this time." Dermamelan costs $1,200; price includes initial and followup treatment and maintenance products. "This is a very effective treatment. Dramatic results will be noticed even within just two weeks," says Cerro.

Q: I 'm less concerned about pigment issues and more concerned about fine lines and laxity. What should I do?

A: The Affirm fractional laser involves two wavelengths administered at same time, says Cerro. There is slight discomfort during the half-hour-long treatment; a topical numbing cream is applied first. "You 'll also likely be quite red for a few hours to a few days. This is easily covered with makeup." The main focus of this treatment is to stimulate collagen and elastin, and tighten skin. "It addresses texture and pore size. It also works well in combination with photo facials, which is a good treatment plan for treating sun damage on two different levels," says Cerro. Up to six treatments are recommended, at three-week intervals. Cost is $500 per treatment or $2,000 for five.

STUDY TIP: RADIESSE® UV skin damage causes collagen to break down, which can result in sagging, wrinkling and laxity. RADIESSE® volumizing filler quickly addresses this problem. Upon injection, it immediately lifts and volumizes; the efficient result is because of calciumbased microspheres (rather than hyaluronic acid) suspended in the gel. RADIESSE ® acts as a scaffold under the skin, providing structure and stimulation for your own collagen to grow. This continues for months, extending the initial effect. In fact, RADIESSE ® lasts up to a year and is one of the longest -lasting fillers on the market. Ask your dermatologist or doctor.