Queensland winters are typically mild, and although our skin does not suffer the extreme cold of other climates, winter can still leave us with dry, unhappy skin. As we move into the warmer months, Dr Sharp and our dermal clinician Deborah have 4 tips for restoring a luminous complexion, ready for summer…
During winter you may notice the evidence of last summer’s sun exposure coming through, with sun spots and pigmentation. Resurfacing the skin by removing its upper layers through Fraxel laser has a dual effect, both lifting off old, pigmented skin and precancerous skin growths (actinic or solar keratosis) while stimulating fresh healthy skin growth and collagen production. Fraxel laser is a safe and effective way of reducing discolouration, in addition to targeting fine lines and wrinkles. The treatment takes about 45 minutes and requires strict sun protection in the days following as the old skin flakes off, and the new skin is revealed, making the pre-summer months an ideal time to undertake this treatment.
Fractionated treatments - which utilise laser or micro needling technology to strategically penetrate the skin - creates microscopic columns of safe trauma. The body’s natural response to this trauma is to produce collagen; something our body reduces its production of as we enter our 30’s. Collagen levels deplete from this time onwards, contributing to the formation of lines, wrinkles, a thin or lacklustre appearance. By stimulating new skin growth and collagen production, fine lines are reduced and a healthy, luminous complexion is restored. Fraxel and Dermapen can also be effective treatments for acne scarring and congested skin. The effects of these treatments is noticed within weeks, however the collagen-stimulating results are noted from about 6 weeks onwards. For ongoing skin maintenance, look for products that include vitamins A and E, as well as beta glucan and hyaluronic acid.
Our skin condition is often reflective of our diet, hydration and stress levels - so good nutrition, lots of water and stress-reduction activities always top the list of ways to improve the appearance and resilience of our skin. Antioxidant-rich diets packed with fresh fruit, vegetables and omega-3’s have been proven to result in healthier skin. Dehydration, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption prematurely age the skin, but the effects of poor lifestyle and diet can be reversed by adopting good eating and drink habits - and as we age - the sooner, the better!
In Queensland our high UV levels year round makes the sun our greatest cause of premature ageing. Even during winter, we are exposed to damaging UV levels during the middle of the day. So if you plan on being outside, observe sun safe measures and wear a hat and SPF 50 sunscreen. In the short term, you will reduce unwanted pigmentation and the appearance of age spots - and in the long term, you may save yourself the avoidable skin cancer surgery that most Queenslanders undergo at some point in their lives.