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Healthy Summer Skin

The Clinica London Sun Way

An even, honey-toned skin, complete with a flattering golden glow, is a summer look that many of us would love to achieve. However, the harsh facts of life are that achieving a heavy tan is not healthy. Basting ourselves with olive oil, while rotating regularly on a Mediterranean beach in the midday sun, is a recipe for sun damaged skin… or worse.  It would be much kinder to our skin to cover up, use a face friendly factor 50 and splash out on a floppy hat rather than a tiny bikini.

Although most of us know about responsible holiday behaviour, we do slip up from time to time or perhaps we might have been reckless sun worshippers in our youth. Oculoplastics and aesthetic surgeon, Jane Olver of Harley Street’s Clinica London, is just one of the many medical specialists who are called on to repair the damage.

Jane preaches prevention, believing in regular applications of high factor sunscreen – even during the overcast days that make up a typical English summer.

“I recommend that my patients use a factor 50 sun protection from April to November and a factor 30 for the rest of the year”, she said.

The good news is that the new generation of UVA/B sun screens are light to use and contain ingredients which are easily tolerated – even around the sensitive eye area – not forgetting the often neglected sides of the face and neck as well as the tops of the ears.

Although Clinica London has no affiliation with any skin care laboratory, Jane specifically mentions the benefits of La Roche-Posay Anthelios XL 50+ or Anthelios AC SPF30. The Heliocare range of sun protection is available in Clinica London Shop.

As an oculoplastic and aesthetic surgeon specialising in the eye area, Jane sees on a daily basis the negative medical and visual aging effects of the sun on her patients, with red and fair haired people most prone to both sun damage and skin tumours.

“The two main areas I am involved with are the removal and subsequent reconstruction of periorbital tumours and repairing the cosmetic effects of sun damage.

“Lots of people are troubled by melasmas (dark spots) and other pigmentation changes especially after the age of 50”, Jane explains. “There are usually obvious patchy marks, the skin will also have become thinner and lost its luminescence.”

While these, and other visible signs of sun damage – like wrinkles- might cause cosmetic concerns, sun damaged skin is also pre disposed to the development of malignant skin tumours, of which basal cell carcinomas- growing on or near the eyelids -are the most common. Recently Jane has seen a significant rise in the number of these cases, especially among younger people – in their thirties. While squamous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma, although fortunately rarer, are a more serious threat.

“Many people might not even realise that they have a carcinoma on their eyelids -a small lump might have been there for five years and suddenly begin to grow. Basal cell carcinomas (BCC) are completely painless and slow growing. Once identified, they can be treated effectively.”

Jane works closely with dermatology colleagues in such cases and, after a biopsy sample has been diagnosed, is likely to recommend a micrographic form of surgical removal known as Mohs’ where the tumour is totally removed layer by layer. Reconstruction can include using a skin graft.

“When dealing with the skin it is always best to have a low threshold for biopsy. It is safest, where there is any concern about lumps or bumps, to send incised samples away for analysis.”

London, July 2015


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