Fighting Winter Acne and Sun Damage

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    Jan 24, 2013
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You may not realize this, but in the winter months your skin is more prone to acne breakouts. While acne is largely a genetically determined and hormonally driven disease, the onset of acne occurs when glandular production of oil increases during puberty, but can also be triggered at other stages in life. As glands produce oil or sebum, they can become clogged, forming first whiteheads, then blackheads, and could eventually enlarge, increasing the pore size and visibly pitting the skin. When the skin bacteria act on this retained oil, fatty acids and other irritating substances are released and inflammatory pustules and cysts of acne occur.

There are a number of reasons acne can worsen during the winter months. When temperatures drop, outside air becomes colder and drier; in addition, the air inside homes and buildings dries out when heated. This dry air can cause skin to dehydrate, which then triggers glands to produce excess oil, leading to breakouts. To minimize breakouts, use gentler and less-drying cleansers, heavier but oil-free moisturizers. Running a humidifier in the home, and drinking the recommended eight 8-ounce glasses of water will also help you manage dehydrated winter skin.

A chemical peel is a simple procedure which removes dead skin cells and stimulates the production of new rejuvenated skin. This is accomplished using various chemicals and enzymes to remove the surface layers of the skin, revealing the fresh and rejuvenated layers below.

The penetrating energy of our Intense Pulse Light (IPL) laser technology kills acne bacteria and stimulates skin rejuvenation, decreasing the outbreak of lesions and improving the skin’s overall appearance.

Microdermabrasion is commonly referred to as the “lunch time peel” because it takes only minutes to perform. It is effective in reducing minor acne scars, cleaning pores, and stimulating the production of new skin cells and collagen.

Another thing in the winter that we tend to forget about is sun damage. Focusing instead on dry skin and its resultant concerns, we rarely apply sunscreen beyond what’s in our daily moisturizer. But even though less skin is exposed, sun damage is as much of a concern during the winter months as it is in the summer months.

As we’ve learned over the years, sun exposure isn’t healthy for the skin, causing discoloration from hyper-pigmentation, enlarged pores, collagen breakdown and spots. More serious conditions, such as psoriasis, can worsen or other conditions may develop later on, as with actinic keratosis, the precursor to skin cancer. With Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) it’s possible to rectify sun-damaged skin; it can improve skin tone and texture, and treat resistant acne. First used in the 1900s, the basic premise of PDT is selective cell destruction.

The procedure is simple, and can be performed on an outpatient basis. It begins with the application of a special topical solution called Levulan. This “smart” solution is only absorbed by abnormal cells such as those in sun-damaged skin. Within 18 hours of Levulan application, you will return to your medical practitioner’s office to undergo blue light therapy, which activates the topical solution to target and kill abnormal cells. In eight weeks, you’ll return to your doctor’s office for a check-up appointment, to determine whether follow-up treatments are needed.

Photodynamic Therapy improves the entire area treated creating one color, texture, and tone. PDT is often used for improving skin tone and texture. Overall sun damage accumulates over the years and we are usually not aware of it (with the exception of sunburn). It takes years for the damage caused by UV exposure to show up on our skin.

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Article Source: Center for Dermatology

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