Avoiding Sun-Damaged Skin and Premature Wrinkling


Atlantans can all appreciate the warm-weather, sunny climate that living in the South provides. Feeling the warmth of the sun on our skin can be revitalizing and, for sun-worshippers, therapeutic. The drawback to all this sunshine gathered on the weekends, and our long commutes, is premature skin aging.

UV radiation damages two of the most important components of skin’s architecture: Elastin and Collagen. Elastin is an elastic protein found in the body’s connective tissue that is responsible for restoring skin to its original shape after it is stretched, poked, or pinched. It keeps skin flexible and tight. Collagen is the main protein in connective tissue, making up 25-35% of all protein in our bodies, and 75% of the protein in our skin. It is responsible for giving skin its firmness and structure.

Damage to these proteins causes skin to look haggard, rough, and develop signs of premature aging: uneven pigmentation, age spots, thin skin, and wrinkles. Prevention is the best method to avoid sun-damaged skin, and a basic skin care regimen can have profound results.

There are many skin care products available on the market but there are three categories that should be incorporated into a daily regimen:

  1. Retinoids (Retin-A, Tazorac, Differin) – These products rejuvenate the skin by increasing collagen and elastin production and help repair sun-damaged skin. These only work with consistent use.
  2. Lightening Creams (Hydroquinone, Kojic Acid) – These products aid in evening skin tone and color, while helping improve the appearance of age spots.
  3. Sunblocks – These help protect our skin from the sun’s radiation, and aid in retaining the positive effects gained with retinoids and lightening creams. Daily sunblock use is a must.

As an Emory, Harvard, and University of Pittsburgh-trained, board-certified plastic surgeon, Dr. Nelson Castillo can help you come up with a skin care program that can be the first step towards maximizing your youthfulness, and which will pay dividends for the rest of your life.

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