MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — May is Skin Cancer Awareness month, and Thursday in every newscast, News 5 aired stories about skin cancer and what you need to know to protect yourself.
We’ve all seen products claiming to reverse sun damage, but what really works?
There’s good news and bad news– There are a few ways to “improve” the appearance of sun damaged skin and premature aging, but they come at a price.
As the saying goes, hindsight is 2020. Most of us wish we had done a better job protecting our skin from the sun through the years. So now we’re suffering the consequences.
“I grew up on the Gulf Coast so you know I was a beach lover and my goal in life of course was to have the ultimate tan when I was a teenager, and we did the baby oil and iodine. My best friend had a sunlamp, and we would stick our faces in that sunlamp and just burn it off,” said Renee Kirby.
She, like so many of us, is looking for ways to reverse that damage, so she opted for the Fraxel laser.
Kirby said, “It is a little bit painful but with the numbing cream it helps. Missy divides your face up in quadrants and goes over it with a laser.”
Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Amy Morris, says the Fraxel laser leaves tiny micro-thermal holes deep in the skin, leading to your skin repairing itself by pushing out the old sun damaged skin and replacing it with new skin.
She said, “This particular laser has two different wavelengths, so it can stimulate collagen and erase brown spots pretty effectively.
Fraxel treatment can cost you between $500 and $1000, and downtime is needed so your skin can recover.
Another less invasive option to reverse sun damage with no down-time is BBL Photofacial. It uses broadband light to target signs of sun damage.
“When we use it on the face or the backs of the hands, it can improve brown spots, it can improve blood vessels,” Dr. Morris told News 5.
The BBL treatment will set you back about $350.
Micro-needling is also a popular choice to help turn back time.
“This particular device infuses hyaluronic acid, it can infuse peptides and other skin rejuvenation products into your skin,” said Dr. Morris.
Micro-needling can help with pigmentation, and plump up creases and fine lines on your skin. Recovery time is typical pretty fast, but get ready to spend between $300 to $350 per treatment.
Dr. Morris recommends some patients get the more subtle OxyGeneo super facial to reverse some signs of sun damage.
She said, “This is a great monthly facial treatment to exfoliate your skin. It has three steps. During the process it has a micro-dermabrasian like treatment for the step one. The second step is ultrasound therapy, and then the third step is kind of a warming oxygenation of the skin.”
The OxyGeneo super facial costs about $150 per treatment.
“Having done all this sun damage my goal now is to try to reverse as much of that as I can. I personally look fabulous after the Fraxel laser,” said Renee Kirby.
According to Dr. Morris, if you’ve had five sunburns in your life, you more than double your risk of getting melanoma as an adult. So prevention is the best, and least expensive method.
She suggests 5 ways to prevent skin cancer and sun damage:
1. Avoid the sun in midday hours of sun exposure.
2. Try to stay in the shade when you are outside.
3. Wear sun protective clothing, including hats and glasses.
4. *Always wear a water resistant ‘Broad spectrum’ sunscreen, which protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
5. See a Board Certified Dermatologist on an annual basis for a skin cancer screening.