Specialist Encourages Awareness of Sun Damage
From the office of Dr. Charles Sexton
Oct. 3, 2004, Orange County Register, Health &
It is that time of year when people begin to take notice
of their skin.
Living in Southern California has many benefits, some
of which contribute to a healthier lifestyle, such as
being able to go outside and exercise year round. Or
simply living on or near the beach and taking advantage
of a world-class climate that is surpassed by few.
With these and countless other reasons for an outdoor
lifestyle comes chronic and often subtle sunlight exposure
that gradually adds up to changes in the body's outer
At Dr. Sexton's office, this means more calls about
cancer screening and repair of the damage that has occurred
with greater sun intensity and exposure from the preceding
"My typical patient is well aware of the risks
associated with the sun, and now is the time they take
stock of new lesions such as precancers and pigmented/colored
spots that may herald the development of skin cancer,"
Dr. Sexton said.
In addition to the medical concerns, people are also
aware of the cosmetic changes from sun damage, and he
is prepared to help turn back the clock for especially
annoying spots like freckles and age spots. These commonly
occur on the hands, chest and face.
"I have found that most pigmentary problems respond
well to non-invasive procedures such as intense pulsed
light, light chemical peeling, and prescription products,"
Dr. Sexton said. "My usual protocol employs a combination
of treatments in order to maximize benefits, and recent
studies have confirmed this approach, which dermatologists
have been following both objectively and intuitively
"The demand for safe, reproducible and minimally
invasive wrinkle correction is still high on the list
of priorities for my patients, and products such as
Botox, Restylane (hyaluronic acid) and collagen are
fulfilling this niche. Many of my patients are too busy
to consider more invasive surgery, or simply don't want
the risks associated with procedures such as a face
lift. Even though work proceeds in these areas to further
minimize risk and down time, they are still considered
a major process."
This is where temporary measures like injectables
come into play. Dr. Sexton states that some people are
concerned about the fact that these products are not
permanent and need to be repeated in order to maintain
corrections, but he says that this is probably a blessing
"Rarely, a complication from these procedures
may occur that can last more than a few days,"
Dr. Sexton said.
"It is a good thing that the majority of these
ultimately resolve as the body resorbs the injectible.
"Currently, we are trying to find substances
that last longer than a few months, but not necessarily
He says that Restylane, a product that is similar
to the naturally occurring hyaluronic acid in human
skin, averages six months duration so that the typical
patient needs only one to two treatments per year.
In addition, this product requires no allergy testing,
so that people can undergo treatment on the same day
as a consultation.
This is an improvement to prior fillers such as bovine
collagen, which requires a test dose or two prior to
the actual treatment in order to minimize allergy reactions.
"It is good to have all of these products available,
as what works for one may not be ideal for the next,
and costs often vary based upon duration of a given
In addition to spots and wrinkles, some people will
notice more spider veins on their legs and face accumulating
with sun exposure. And rosacea patients also notice
that as soon as the tan wears off, the temporary improvement
in redness appears to worsen after another season in
"Luckily, procedures such as laser, sclerotherapy
and intense pulsed light are available to help correct
these problems," which Dr. Sexton adds, "can
be the most stubborn. Whereas pigmentary problems can
typically resolve with just a few interventions, vascular
or blood vessel problems tend to be more resistant.
"The informed patient will need to be compliant
and patient in order to improve their problem. Whether
it's sclerotherapy or IPL, multiple treatments are usually
the norm in order to achieve the best correction."
Simple lifestyle changes, such as wearing broadbrimmed
hats and sunglasses also go miles to preventing further
damage so that the treatments may become less necessary
If you have skin concerns, visit Dr. Sexton's office
at 15825 Laguna Canyon Road, Suite 203, Irvine. The
phone number is 949-679-6900; his Web site address is