You may not think about it in your teens or twenties but as we are in our thirties, we are starting to see all that secret damage. That’s right, we're talking about the lingering sun damage that leaves skin peeling, dry, and uneven after a summer well sunned. Skin has a memory. Sun damage at an early age remains throughout adult life and we can see the marks literally on our skin.
Refinery 29 spoke with dermatologistsand the most common forms of sun damage aresun spots, sunburns, and dry skin. The number-one concern being sun spots. "They can happen even to the best of us who wear sunscreen religiously," says dermatologist Estee Williams, M.D. Luckily, there are ways to tackle every sign of sun damage — even dark spots — and the pros are telling us how, ahead.
Brighten Sun Spots
There are many different types of hyperpigmentation, but sun spots usually appear after hours spent in the sun with little-to-no sun protection. As a natural defense mechanism against UV rays, the body amps up melanin production, which results in brown spots.
As far as fading sun spots, you can add vitamin C, aclinically proven brightening agent, to your daily skin-care routine. However, it will take at least a month to see any difference. As an alternative, dermatologists recommend looking into lasers, like IPL (intense pulsed light), to reverse this type of sun damage.An IPL treatment transmits bright light — typically through a handheld device — that targets pigmentation. It's rarely painful, but you can feel an uncomfortable zap from the light, similar to laser hair removal.
Aside from increasing your risk for skin cancer, the sun’s rays cause DNA damage to our skin cells ,and according toDr. Sheel Solomon, a dermatologist in North Carolina, can cause dry skin, actinic keratosis and changes to the skin’s collagen production, resulting in fine lines and deeper wrinkles. Want help with wrinkles without needles?
Retinol (Vitamin A) is used particularly for treating fine lines and wrinkles. “Retinol products have been used for decades, working to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles,” she said. “However, due to their photoreactive nature, they can make your skin more susceptible to sun damage, so they’re usually not recommended in the summertime.” It is important to know that you should slowly introduce retinol into your system and skincare routine.
Look to Antioxidants for Help
The body only has so many lines of defense in the fight against free radicals, which include wrinkle- and sag-inducing molecules generated by UV exposure. One way to fight this is through the production of antioxidants. Inflamed skin impedes the skin’s rejuvenation process. By reducing inflammation, antioxidants allow skin to repair itself and correct visible damage. Some antioxidants, like vitamin C, can also stimulate collagen production,which is vital for youthful skin. Also, some antioxidants, such as vitamins A, C and E, haveanti-carcinogenic properties and may help prevent skin cancer.
Remember to layer up your skin before you go into the sun and there are so many natural and organic solutions to help you with any sun damage that you have. We only wish that we knew how to lather on the sunscreen back when we were 18+.