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Another summer is on the books. Raise your hand if you didn’t apply sunscreen as religiously as dermatologists recommend. YEP, my hand is definitely raised. I try. I honest to goodness try to apply as much as I can or at least when I remember. (Don’t tell my doctor.) I even carry a Peter Thomas Roth powdered sunscreen stick in my purse so I can apply on the go without all the goopy mess of typical lotion sunscreens. Yet it still doesn’t seem like enough. I still end up with plenty of discoloration and an uneven skin tone by the end of summer.

While my sunburn concerns may only be superficial at this point, I want to avoid skin cancer at any cost (who doesn’t?) so I spoke with licensed aesthetician Amber Holland at Satin Med Spa to find out how to reverse and revive sun-damaged skin before it’s too late. Here’s what she recommended:

Step 1: Protect!

Start by protecting yourself from future damage. Amber says, “Brown spots will reappear unless you are diligent with sunscreen,” and makeup with sunscreen is NOT enough. Instead, wear a broad spectrum SPF 30 to shield out both UVA and UVB rays year-round under your makeup. Sunscreen is only effective for two hours so reapply as needed. Another alternative Amber recommends is powder sunscreens. “Powder sunscreens are a great way to touch up throughout the day and can be found in a retractable brush, making it easy to apply,” she notes. Plus it won’t spill in your purse. Here’s the one I mentioned that I like to use:

Step 2: Exfoliate.

Next, it’s really important to exfoliate often. “Facials are a great way to remove dead skin cells, break up hyper pigmentation (brown spots, sun damage) and rehydrate the skin for an immediate, noticeable difference,” says Amber. You can choose between several different exfoliating options, including chemical peels, enzyme peels, microdermabrasion, hydrodermabrasion, or dermaplaning. For a more intense outcome, look into a V1 peel or TCA peel. Also, Clarisonics are great to use at home to keep your skin exfoliated. It spins about 300 times per second, clearing out debris, oil, makeup and other pollutants your skin absorbs throughout the day. “One time use is enough to not only feel a difference but (also to) see a difference! Use it at least three times per week,” suggests Amber.

Sun-damaged skincare

Clarisonic Mia 2, $169, at Nordstrom

Step 3: Add antioxidants.

Once you’ve exfoliated, add antioxidants to your skin regimen. They not only protect your skin from free radicals but they also calm and revitalize dull looking skin. “Antioxidants neutralize the toxins from sun damage and help prevent future damage,” Amber says, adding, “They also increase collagen production, minimize fine lines and wrinkles, reduce age spots, reduce acne and help shield out UV rays.” The best antioxidants to look for in products are vitamins A, C, E and green tea. Use SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic to get a big dose of antioxidants. “After giving clients a sample of SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, most of my patients come back to purchase. You can literally see results in about two weeks! For an added benefit, incorporate SkinCeuticals Reservatrol B E for your nighttime protection — giving you around-the-clock antioxidants.”

Sun-damaged skincare

SkinCeuticals C F Ferulic gives you a powerful dose of antioxidants for $163.

StyleBlueprint Skin Care

SkinCeuticals Resveratol B E helps give you a dose of antioxidants throughout the night for $152.

Step 4: Hydrate!

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! “Healthy skin is well-hydrated skin — both internally and externally — allowing for optimal skin health. Hydration increases the amount of water in your cells, which results in a smooth, plump and healthy complexion. Hydration is the foundation of overall skin health,” Amber says, adding “The outer layers of the skin are comprised mostly of dead skin cells; these cells lose their ability to maintain a normal moisture level. Once the skin is dry, it becomes more fragile. External hydration is key to keeping these cells hydrated.” Look for products like hyaluronic acid, which binds water molecules to the skin to help keep it moisturized. One I love is SkinCeuticals Hydra Balm, which is incredible for parched skin. Another option is SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture for an everyday moisturizer. It’s lightweight, minimizes your pores and won’t make you break out.

Charlotte skincare

SkinCeuticals Daily Moisture is lightweight and great for sensitive skin. It retails for $62.

Step 5: Seek treatment.

Other options to help with sun damage include an IPL (intense pulse laser), which stimulates collagen production and targets signs of aging, and micro needling, which treats sun-damaged skin for fine lines and wrinkles. Prescription strength hydroquinone is the”gold standard” of a skincare regimen and will help even out skin discoloration.

If you’re looking for something more invasive with immediate results, look into botox or fillers. UV rays can break down collagen and elastin — making fine lines and wrinkles more noticeable — and botox can help soften the lines, while fillers can help plump the skin back up.

The best way to take care of your skin? Take the time to visit a professional who can create the right skincare regimen for you. “A licensed skincare professional knows the science of the skin, as well as the science behind skincare ingredients,” explains Amber. “A skincare regimen should be based on ingredients rather than one-size-fits-all. Prescription-strength and medical-grade products will be more effective and provide better results in a shorter amount of time.”

Whatever steps you take to give your skin a little post-summer love, remember that you only have the skin your in so take care of it!

Thanks to Amber Holland, our expert aesthetician, and Satin Med Spa for their time and insight.


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