Posted May 24, 2019 in Premature Aging
We’ve all heard that the sun’s UV rays can damage the skin, leading to wrinkles, sun spots, and premature aging. However, recent research suggests that heat can damage your skin in a similar fashion. Chronic heat exposure (like sitting too close to a fireplace, regularly using a hot water bottle, or bathing in overly hot water) can cause a condition called erythema ab igne (EAI), which produces mottled, red-brown patches on the unprotected skin. The blotchy discoloration can fade when the surface is protected from heat, but it can eventually become permanent if the skin is repeatedly exposed to high temperatures. Skin damage used to be considered a summertime concern, but the truth is that you should take care of your skin all year round.
Protecting Your Skin During Winter
Before you turn up the thermostat in the winter, remember that heat can damage your skin even before you notice any discoloration. Exposure to heat can destroy collagen and elastin fibers in the dermis, eventually causing it to become thinner and weaker, leading to premature wrinkling. Heat may also stimulate angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth), which can lead to broken capillary veins, red blotches, and uneven pigmentation. Lastly, heat has been shown to generate “free radicals,” which are particles that damage the collagen and DNA in your skin.
What You Can Do
- Avoid sitting directly in front of the heater or fireplace for prolonged periods.
- If you notice your skin becoming red in the bath or shower, turn down the heat to cool off.
- If you use a small space heater near your desk or chair, change its position so the heat doesn’t directly hit your skin.
For more information about factors that contribute to premature aging or to learn about your rejuvenation options, please fill out our online contact form.
Protecting Your Skin During Summer
While we all want to believe that enjoying summertime has little or no impact on the health of our skin, this is generally not the case. Many people fail to take their sun protection routine seriously enough and suffer the consequences of premature aging. Like heat, UV rays also trigger angiogenesis and other factors that can compromise the appearance of your skin.
Do Not “Forget” Sunblock
Between the immediate sunburn, premature aging, and the risk of skin cancer, wearing sunblock is not something you can choose to ignore. Wearing sunblock is vital year-round, but it is especially important when you are spending more time outdoors in danger zones, such as the pool, golf course, or the beach. Sunblock should be at least SPF 30 and applied several times a day when exposed to the sun’s rays. It should also contain zinc or titanium oxide. Even with hats, umbrellas, and shade, the intense sun rays can reflect off the sand or concrete and cause damage to unprotected skin.
Drink Enough Water
During the summer, it is common to feel fatigued and tired as a result of dehydration. Your body is expelling and using water more rapidly when it is hot out, so you need to consider this to maintain adequate hydration. Dehydration not only affects your internal health, but it also wreaks havoc on your skin, causing dry, wrinkled, and prematurely aging skin. Drinking enough water is vital to keeping your skin soft, supple, and healthy.
Professional Skin Rejuvenation
If you already struggle with the effects of sun and heat damage, there are plenty of options that can restore a more youthful appearance. While extensive facial aging may be corrected with surgery, some patients can achieve their desired look with non-surgical options such as injectables or other innovative technologies. Every patient’s skin is different, so any rejuvenation treatment or program must be tailored to their unique condition and aesthetic objectives.
Non-surgical Rejuvenation Options
Depending on your condition and cosmetic desires, you may be a candidate for one of the following treatments:
Skin Care at Home
Neglecting your skincare routine during the sunny summer or chilly winter months not only affects your immediate complexion but also results in premature aging and other long-term effects. To ensure that you are taking the best possible steps to protect your skin, you should be proactive about your skin health. A good skin regimen is essential to a beautiful and youthful complexion. In addition to a good cleanser, everyone should use a skin toner after washing, followed by a serum, a vitamin A&D cream, and a moisturizer. The absolute best single product to avoid aging skin, other than sunblock, is a Retin-A product. Retinol or Retin-A should be applied every night before sleep for the rest of your life. Your healthy skin will thank you for it for years to come.
Skincare throughout the year is vital to your skin’s aesthetic and health. However, if you have experienced sun damage, all is not lost. Contact Dr. Persky today at 818-501-FACE to find out what treatments can get you back on the right path and to schedule a complimentary skin evaluation and skin care plan with our clinical esthetician.