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Tans are not the problem: precisely how the sun damages your skin

Tans are not the problem: precisely how the sun damages your skin
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Tanning in MelbourneIt is drilled into us endlessly: ‘a tan means damaged skin’. But, we can’t see any damage, except the occasional burn (and how good do tans look!), so we largely ignore this as a concept because we know that the tan itself – melanin – is not dangerous. This is missing the point. 

What we ignore is the UV exposure we get when we are not tanning or sunburnt – through car windows, office windows, at brunch – that causes changes to our skin that are only seen via a special UV light.

Watch how people with supposedly clear skin look under the UV light (including kids without sun damage).

As we get older, we start seeing our faces change, and blame it on age, stress, lack of sleep, work, the kids, despite mountains of evidence indicating that 80-90 per cent of the visible signs of ageing are attributable to UV damage. Not just sunburn. Not tans. Just regular, everyday UV rays on our skin.

Exactly how UV damages your skin cells

When UV rays penetrate your skin cells, they slowly but surely cause irreparable damage to the collagen and elastin, blood vessels and other critical elements, increasing pigmentation, reducing skin function, and breaking down structures, even if you can’t see it on the surface. Yet. Later, this shows up as fine lines, wrinkles, thickened skin, sun spots, freckles, blotches. UV rays can also damage your skin cell DNA, resulting in precancerous or cancerous changes to the cell.

Sunscreen use – we know, it’s boring, but it’s your best anti-wrinkle treatment

Using sunscreen properly doesn’t come without its annoyances and perils: sunscreen must be applied regularly, it’s hard to put on when you are wet or sweaty, it smudges makeup, it blocks vitamin D production in the skin. The thing is, without it, your skin is being damaged because Australia lacks proper ozone coverage. This means that sun exposure must be managed.

We have anti-wrinkle treatments and strategies for helping undo sun damage, and we also have a great sunscreen specially chosen by Dr Michael Rich, available at our Melbourne clinic.

Anti-wrinkle treatments that address sun damage and lines – Melbourne clinic

We have a vast array of anti-ageing anti-wrinkle treatments at our fingertips, including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, lasers, light therapy, radiofrequency and chemical peels. The anti-wrinkle treatment strategy we use will depend heavily on what your skin type is, and what sort of sun damage and wrinkles you have. Deep wrinkles may benefit from dermal fillers, fine lines may respond very well to laser resurfacing, or forehead creases may need anti-wrinkle injections to relax the tiny muscles that make them worse. Typically, your treatments will be a combination, since not just one treatment is the magic solution to wrinkles.

Don’t forget your sunscreen – apply regularly, wear a hat, protect yourself in the car and the office too. Remember that most windows do not block UV rays.

We take your skin seriously. You should too.

Contact our Melbourne clinic

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