Skin Damage is an all-encompassing term for many different skin conditions that form as a result of injury or harm to the skin. Common types of skin damage are scars from previous injuries, acne scars, and damage from the sun including age spots or sunspots. At AgeFocus, we are equipped to treat many different types of skin damage to give your skin a healthier look.
Common Types of Scarring
Scars are areas of fibrous tissue that replace normal skin after injury. Although they are made up of collagen just like skin, it appears different because of the way in which the collagen is formed. In skin, collage forms like a basket weave structure where as in a scar, collagen forms in a single direction1. Scars form in many different ways depending on how much collagen is produced at the time of healing. There are five different types of scarring5: keloid, hypertrophic, atrophic, contracture and stretch marks.
Keloid scars is an overgrowth of scar tissue that sometimes is larger than the original wound2. They appear to be a lumpy, raised section of skin that is usually pink or red in color and continues to grow over time. They can sometimes be itchy. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology (AOCD), an estimated 10 percent of people experience keloid scarring3.
Common conditions that cause keloid scars include chickenpox scars, ear piercing, scratches, surgical incision sites and vaccination sites. Keloid scarring is also hereditary meaning some people are genetically predisposed to keloid scarring especially if they are from African American or Asian descent2. Keloid scars can grow into benign tumors.
A hypertrophic scar is similar to a keloid scar in the sense that it’s an overgrowth of scar tissue but not as severe3. They are more common than keloid scars because they tend to occur in all racial groups. They form when there has been an injury deep in the layers of dermis of skin and are also thick, red and itchy4.
Atrophic Scars are usually categorized by a depression or sunken area in the skin due to damage of collagen, fat or other tissue from the original injury6. Although these scars can also be from chicken pox, other diseases, or even surgery, they are most commonly formed from acne.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, acne is the most common skin condition in the U.S.
affecting up to 50 million people a year7. When a follicle or pore becomes filled with excess oil, dead skin cells, and bacteria, acne and breakouts occur8. When the pore becomes too swollen, it may break the follicle wall causing a lesion. If there is a break in the follicle deep in the skin, the infected material can spill out in the dermis and damage healthy skin tissue causing the depression or sunken area.
Contracture scars form specifically from second and third degree burns9. When the skin is damaged in this way, the remaining skins begin to pull together in an effort to quickly heal. The skin becomes tightened and can restrict movement especially if there is a burn around a joint. Depending on the severity of the burn, contracture scars can affect nerves and muscles as well10.
Stretch marks are also considered to be a type of scarring. It occurs when the skin stretches and the presence of cortisone makes the skin lose its elasticity15. They usually appear as rows of parallel lines on the skin, commonly found on the stomach, breasts, upper arms, thighs, and buttocks. These lines are usually a different color (purple, sometimes pink or gray) and texture than normal skin and also leave a ridge or depression. They are usually found on women after pregnancy or people who have severe fluctuations in weight.
Skin Damage From The Sun
What Are Sun Spots?
A sunspot (sometimes referred to as an age spot) is a small, freckle sized, rough, raised area on the skin. They usually appear on areas of the body that have had long term exposure to the sun including the face, hands, shoulders, and back. In the medical industry they are referred to as Actinic keratosis11. Sunspots can be various colors such as red, light brown, or as dark as black.
Sunspots are very common in adults who are over the age of fifty12. But, they can occur in younger people especially if they are exposed to the sun over a long period of time. “Age spot” is a misnomer because it has nothing to do with age. These spots are also sometimes called liver spots, but they have nothing to do with the liver13.
What Causes Sun Spots?
When your skin is exposed to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, the pigment under the skin – melanin – creates a protective layer to prevent the light from reaching the deeper layers of skin. This is known as “getting a tan.” Over a long period of time, constant exposure to UV light can cause high concentrations of melanin, which binds together forming a spot12.
Sunspot or Skin Cancer?
Sunspots can look like cancerous growths, but most of the time they are harmless and do not need to be treated. However, sometimes sunspots can develop into cancer, therefore it’s important to have any sunspots monitored by a dermatologist. Skin cancer is the most common cancer. About 5.4 million basal and squamous cell skin cancers are diagnosed each year14.
How AgeFocus Can Help Treat Your Skin Damage
Although most of these kinds of skin damage are harmless, many people choose to have them treated for cosmetic reasons.
Laser Scar Removal on Long Island
The medical staff at AgeFocus treat scars with The Artisan Laser System, a non-invasive treatment. As mentioned earlier, scarring occurs when collagen in the skin forms in one direction. The Artisan Laser System uses hundreds of micro-beams to break down the incorrectly formed collagen and promotes the synthesis of new collagen fibers16. The normal collagen over time will help fade out scars. Changes occur slowly over several months, and treatments need to be repeated on a monthly basis17. AgeFocus recommends six to eight treatments.
Another way that AgeFocus treats scars is through dermabrasion and microdermabrasion19. It’s used to improve acne scars, pox marks, and scars from accidents or disease. Dermabrasion is better for people with lighter skin, since darker skin tones can result in discoloration. Microdermbrasion on the other hand can be for any skin tones and treats deeper problems such as scars, stretch marks, wrinkles, or deep acne scars.
To treat stretch marks, AgeFocus uses the Venus Viva20. Combining NanoFractional Radio Frequency (RF) and SmartScan technology, this machine penetrates deeper forcing skin cells to produce more collagen. Most of the time it is used in conjunction with the Artisan Laser System to produce overall healthier, firmer, skin.
Skin Rejuvenation on Long Island
The skin rejuvenation experts at AgeFocus use several different treatment options to help with any damage to the skin by the sun. The first step will be going through a skin complexion analysis18. In this procedure, digital photos will be taken with RGB and UV Light. This reports any sunspots, pigmentation, pores, roughness, acne, moisture and wrinkles. The analysis will help plan treatments and, most importantly, compare the skin changes after skin rejuvenation treatments are done.
Most of the time in order to treat sunspots, the physicians at AgeFocus will use a Laser IPL Skin Photo-Rejuvenation treatment19 or what is known as a “Photo-Facial,” although the treatment can be used on other areas of the body such as neck, chest, arms, and hands.
IPL only treats the targeted areas and leaves the surrounding tissues intact. Each treatment can last anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes. After the session the “sun spots” become darker and gradually “flake” away. In addition to removing skin pigment irregularities and imperfections, it also improves skin tone and texture, resulting in more vibrant and radiant skin. For best results, the AgeFocus staff recommend three sessions, spaced two to four weeks apart.
Chemical Peels To Treat Skin Damage
AgeFocus also offers different types of chemical peels to help combat skin damage from scarring or the sun19.
Glycolic Peel – In this peel, our estheticians use glycolic acid at a low pH (6.0). It reacts with the upper layer of skin ultimately weakening the fatty tissue that holds the dead skin cells together21 causing deep exfoliation and resulting in exposing live skin cells. This causes a reduction of skin hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone, skin mottling, acne scars, sun damage and other skin imperfections. This peel can be used on the face, neck, hands, and chest.
Skinceuticals Professional Peels – AgeFocus offers three different chemical peels that can help with treating skin damage from scarring or from the sun:
- The Pigment Balancing Peel – reduction in discoloration, and improves skin radiance and clarity.
- The MicroPeel Plus – reduction of acne, improvement in rough texture and blotchiness.
- The MicroPeel – reduced appearance of fine lines, skin imperfections, and improved radiance.
These peels are customizable to your specific skin type and are used in conjunction with other skin damage treatments from AgeFocus. They stimulate cell turnover and strengthen the skin’s structure to reduce pigmentation, smooth skin texture, and improve radiance.
If you have any form of skin damage from scars to sunspots and would like to learn more about our treatment options, feel free to give us a call at (631) 243-3628 or fill out the contact form.