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What helps with sun damage to the skin

When the temperatures start to cool down, it’s time for minor procedures in the service of beauty. And not only because pigment spots or wrinkles have increased during the summer.

Those who are very bothered by sun damage on their skin can have it visibly softened with various mini-treatments. No, we don’t want to put you under the scalpel, but only to present gentle, minimally invasive measures for which it will be too late when the temperatures warm up again in a few months.

They often require several weeks to heal and several weeks of sun abstinence. The reason: "If the affected areas are exposed to the sun prematurely, they can hyperpigment", warns Munich dermatologist Dr. Timm Golüke, "i.e. darken." This is especially important to consider when a winter trip to the warm, or even a ski trip to the mountains, where the strength of the sun is often underestimated.

Sun damage on the skin: wrinkles

The sun dries out the skin and also promotes the formation of free radicals, which attack the collagen matrix – wrinkles are therefore more pronounced in summer.

Treatment 1: Micro-Needling

This is how it works: The dermatologist treats the affected areas with a so-called derma pen. The nails attached to the electronic device penetrate between 0.5 and 2.5 mm deep into the skin, causing mini-injuries (which should never be exposed to sunlight, otherwise they could become permanent bruises). The purpose of the stimuli is to stimulate collagen production and regeneration of the skin. As a result, new cells are formed and wrinkle-free skin is left behind.

Cost: Between 150 and 450 euros per session. The treatment should be repeated twice at intervals of 28 days.

Treatment 2: Injections

This is how it works: Injections with non-cross-linked hyaluronic acid are super-effective for less pronounced wrinkles and can be combined with micro-needling for deeper wrinkles. These punctures should also be kept out of the sun due to the risk of bruising.

Costs: The treatment (approx. 220 euros) should be repeated after about two weeks, after which the skin should remain wrinkle-free for at least six months.

Couperose

Another sun damage on the skin is couperosis. This is the term used to describe enlargements of the face, usually in people with thin and sensitive skin, which become noticeable with protruding red patches on the cheeks and around the nose.

Treatment: IPL laser

This is how it works: the dermatologist sends light in different wavelengths to the skin via the laser device. This practically destroys the small veins that visibly shimmer through under the surface of the skin.

Cost: Approximately 200 euros per session, which should be repeated three times at intervals of about three weeks.

Spider veins

Spider veins are a type of varicose veins: dilated veins in the skin, usually on the calves, which are visible from the outside – especially in the summer, as heat causes the vessels to dilate additionally.

Treatment 1: Neodymium laser

This is how it works: spider veins can be eliminated in a similar way to couperose: by laser treatment. Laser beams are directed at the dilated veins, irreversibly damaging the vessels, which are then broken down by the body. The areas are healed in a few weeks.

Costs: Depending on the extent of the area to be treated, from 60 euros. Usually only one session is necessary.

Treatment 2: Injections

Here‘s how it works: There is also another treatment solution, "aethoxysclerol", which is injected üvia a needle. Again, small injuries occur, i.e.: sun ban.

Cost: Also according to the extent. The treatment (à about 50 euros) usually does not need to be repeated.

Age spots

Pigmentstörungen oder sogenannte Age spots sind in vielen Fällen die Quittung für ausgedehnte, unvorsichtige Sonnenbäder.

Treatment: Combination laser

So geht’s: Der Laser arbeitet mit zwei verschiedenen Wellenlängen und erreicht so unterschiedliche Problemhaut-Ebenen. So befinden sich etwa im Bereich von 1927 Nanometern die Hautstellen, in denen Pigmentveränderungen wie Age spots und Lichtschäden sitzen, die so gezielt angegangen werden können.

Cost: One session can cost between 200 and 600 euros, depending on the area and extent. As a rule, about four of these are necessary for this type of sun damage to the skin, each of which should be repeated at intervals of four weeks. However, patients are often satisfied with the results after just a few treatments.

Melasma belongs to sun damage on the skin.

Melasma are darker areas of skin on the cheeks, forehead, chin or upper lip, which are caused by hormonal influence – for example by the contraceptive pill or pregnancy – and become more pronounced after spending time in the sun. A sunblock on affected areas is therefore always mandatory, even in autumn.

Treatment: Chemical peeling

This is how it works: The substances (koji and azelaic acid) are applied to the areas by the dermatologist to practically peel off the surface, darker layers of the skin. The healing process can take several weeks. "Before that, sun exposure would be particularly fatal", warns Dr. Golüke, "as the fresh skin layer is particularly sensitive."  Once the skin has recovered, it is very unlikely that the so-called pregnancy spots will return, as the skin cells in question have been destroyed.

Cost: Patients can choose between a one-time "Dermamelan peeling" à about 700 euros and six sessions starting at about 100 euros each at intervals of four weeks.

Many dermatologists also offer treatment with fractional laser. The problem: the rays can make the skin even more sensitive to light and thus worsen the pigmentation.