Young woman a bottle of sunblock outside on a summer day

We’re all ready to spend some time outdoors and enjoy a little sun after a long and dreary winter.

Whether you’re simply soaking up a few rays during a walk in your neighborhood or heading off to the beach for spring break, you need to protect your skin from UV radiation.

Start with protection

The best thing you can do before heading outside is to make sure you apply sunscreen and reapply after being in the sun for awhile or getting wet. Also, cover your face, ears and eyes with a hat and sunglasses. Too much sun exposure can lead to discoloration or sunspots, wrinkles and even skin cancer.

“Antioxidant serums and vitamin C are also useful in protection against the oxidizing effects of UV exposure,” says Washington University facial plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory Branham. “They combat dangerous free radical formation that leads to damage to the collagen in the skin and can lead to premalignant lesions.”

The physicians of the Washington University Facial Plastic Surgery Center, including Dr. Branham and his partners, Dr. John Chi and Dr. Emily Spataro, know that for many patients, sun exposure over time has already led to some damage, but it’s never too late to prevent and repair the effects of the sun.

How to repair

There are a variety of treatment options available, and the physicians and their team are happy to set up a consultation to tailor your treatment to what best meets your needs, time and budget.

“Treatments can include topicals containing a tretinoin (like Retin-A) and a bleaching agent, such as hydroquinone, to a series of light peels and a daily regimen of antioxidants with bleaching agents as needed,” Dr. Branham explains. “Then there are more aggressive treatments, such as medium-depth peels and laser resurfacing — methods that can achieve a quick and complete result.”

Another new procedure being sought for sun damage treatment is microneedling, which can be combined with energy treatments such as radiofrequency or with serums whose penetration in the skin is enhanced with the microneedling, Dr. Branham adds.

Regardless of what treatment you may choose to repair or reverse sun damage, it’s important to continue good habits of minimizing sun exposure, using sunscreen every day, avoiding tanning and especially tanning beds, covering up in the sun and seeking shade when possible.

There’s no time like the present to commit to good habits and keep your skin safe from the sun.

For more information or to schedule a consultation with the physicians at the Facial Plastic Surgery Center, call 314-996-3880 or click here.