If you live in a sunny climate like Brisbane or reside in Queensland, chances are you would have seen a lot of sun and UV over the years. Protecting your skin and reversing pre-existing damage is very important. This can reduce your chances of developing sun spots, actinic keratosis, and skin cancers. Hats, sunscreens, and active vitamins such as Vitamin A and AHA peels can all help. Important facts on protection and skin cancer prevention
UVA and UVB are forms of radiation emitted by the sun. These two forms of ultraviolet radiation are significant due to two main reasons: 1) they reach the skin 2) they have damaging effects on the skin. Choosing a correct sunscreen for your skin type and use is the key factor to effective photoprotection. Sunscreen use has been shown to decrease both sun damage, and reduce the incidence of non-melanoma skin cancers.
Apply sunscreen twice a day, 15-20 minutes before sun-exposure. Skin Cancer doctors endorse the use of La Roche Posay sunscreens.
Yes. Studies have shown that vitamin A, retinol, retinoic acid and various forms of ‘retinoids’ can reduce or even reverse sun damage. Active vitamin A creams have to be compounded or prescribed by your skin cancer doctor or dermatologist. Each patient should have a tailored mix of vitamin A cream, as putting too much cream can result in skin irritation
AHA or alpha hydroxy acids are best for sun damage skin, especially mild to moderate sun damage. They are best conducted by Specialist Dermatologists. AHA peels are also known as lunch time peels- no downtime peels. Patients will need a series of 5-7 peels over weeks to months for best results.
If your sun damage is very severe, you may benefit from a highly specialised peel called a medium depth TCA peel. This is conducted by Dr Davin S. Lim, Laser Dermatologist.
With the invention of Fraxel 1927 laser, most ‘peel cases’ are now treated with laser. Laser is less painful, equally as effective, and has less downtime compared to old fashioned TCA peels.
Read more about Fraxel for sunspots
High risk patients should see a skin cancer doctor every 3-6 months, especially if you have a personal or family history of melanoma.
High risk patients include-
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. One in two Australians will develop skin cancer each year. The answer to this is to be sun smart, see a doctor regularly and undertake routine self skin checks.
It is strongly recommended that you examine your own skin every two to three months to get into a routine along with your yearly skin check by your GP, skin cancer specialist or Dermatologist. Examination is recommended monthly if you have a known history of skin cancer.
A self check exam can be an excellent method of early detection of skin cancer.
Read more about self skin examination
Laser treatment with Fraxel can be extremely successful in reducing sunspots. Treatments are very well tolerated, and on average takes only 30 minutes to perform. Healing occurs within days of treatment. Another positive effect is skin rejuvenation (decrease in pigmentation, liver spots, and fine wrinkles).
Depending on the amount of sun damage, patients will require between 1- 3 Fraxel laser sessions
Read more about Fraxel for sun-damage