Undo the Damage

Medspa treatments can reverse some of the sun’s harmful effects on your skin

Ultraviolet light from the sun damages skin and causes age spots, hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, enlarged pores, broken capillaries and dryness and contributes to rosacea, acne and spider veins. After age 40, skin is less able to regenerate, and you start to see the adverse effects of sun exposure.

Thankfully, there are treatments for these types of sun damage. Medspas in our area offer a variety of options to renew the skin and erase the damage. Following is an overview of the most common treatments.

Chemical Peels

Chemical peels remove damaged cells from the outer layers of the skin. “The new skin that replaces the outer layers will be smooth and less wrinkled in appearance,” said Dr. Thara Kodandaramachandra of the Parma Center for Health, Medicine and Wellness in Vienna.

There are different chemical formulas depending on your skin type and the problem you want to address. Chemical peels may cause a little burning for a few minutes after the chemicals are applied and some redness and swelling after the procedure. Following the peel, you will experience some scaling and spots will turn darker before crusting and peeling off in seven to 14 days.

Caroline Dudley, MMA, clinical director at ARIA MediSpa, Yoga and Wellness Center in Sterling explains that a spot of sun damage visible on the skin’s surface is actually much larger beneath the surface, so, depending on the size of a spot and how long you’ve had it, it may take a series of three or more treatment sessions to eliminate it. She also suggests using a medical-grade topical hydroquinone in conjunction with peels or other treatments to lighten the skin from the inside.


Aging skin, hyperpigmentation and enlarged pores benefit from microneedling. According to Astoria, “Microneedling technology uses multiple needles that vertically pierce the skin with an automatic vibrating function. When moved across the skin’s surface it stimulates natural collagen reproduction.” Microneedling treatments deliver topical nutrients deep into the skin, which stimulates repair and allows for faster resurfacing results. Skin may appear red for a day or so after treatment.

Cryo Facials

Just as lasers use heat energy to treat the damaged skin, cryotherapy, or freeze therapy, uses cold. Cryo facials reduce pore size, decrease wrinkles and lines, brighten dark spots, stimulate collagen production and improve blood flow.

Cryo facials are quick, non-invasive and pain free. The skin is rapidly cooled using liquid nitrogen, which leads to tightening and then dilation of blood vessels and capillaries which helps to flush toxins and impurities from the skin.

Laser and Light Therapy

The different laser and light treatments out there can be confusing, often because Medspas name their treatments after the brand name of the equipment they use.

Ablative lasers remove the outer layers of sun-damaged skin and stimulate the underlying skin to form collagen. These procedures are often called laser resurfacing. Non-ablative lasers work beneath the surface skin layer to stimulate collagen and tighten the underlying skin.

The more aggressive the laser treatment, the longer the recovery time. The skin may go through various stages of redness, crusting and peeling for about a week after a laser treatment, and the skin may remain pink for up to another two weeks.

“The body’s natural healing process creates new healthy tissue to replace the areas of affected tissue, resulting in healthier, younger-looking skin,” said Kodandaramachandra. You will experience a temporary darkening or lightening of the skin. Recovery time is minimal and the results are gradual. It can take several months to see the full effects. In some cases, a series of treatments may be recommended.

Some common light-based treatments are intensed pulsed light, or IPL, photo facials and radiofrequency.

According to Astoria Laser Clinic and Med Spa in Vienna, “Acne, rosacea, and exposure to environmental pollutions and UV radiation can lead to inflammation and the production of free radicals in your skin. Ultimately, these can lead to scarring, premature aging and even skin cancer. IPL is highly effective at destroying free radicals and reducing inflammation while rejuvenating the skin. Desired results usually require multiple treatments. Each treatment takes approximately 30 minutes and requires little to no downtime.”

New laser and light technologies are being developed all the time, and some of the newest promise minimal social downtime, shorter treatment sessions and decreased healing time.

Silk Dermalinfusion

Silk DermalInfusion is a noninvasive procedure with no downtime, and you will see immediate improvement in volume, hydration, tone and texture of the skin. The approximately 30-minute treatment exfoliates dry, damaged skin cells, deep cleans and infuses condition-specific serums deep into the skin. The skin continues to improve after the treatment as new, healthy cells rise to the surface.

Dudley explains that the process involves choosing the right serum to address a client’s concerns then using a diamond-tipped, hand-held appliance to shoot out and then vacuum up the solution and exfoliate the skin.

Skin may appear flushed or red immediately after the treatment, but this is temporary. Silk DermalInfusion rejuvenates, smooths and evens skin tone while it hydrates, leaving skin up to 70 percent more volumized for up to 72 hours following the procedure. The results are instant and cumulative. Most skin care professionals recommend a series of four to six treatments for best results.

Medspas offer ways to treat and reverse damage caused by the sun. Consult an aesthetician for the treatment that’s best for your skin issues, your comfort zone, your wallet and the results you expect.

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