I know you wouldn’t take back any of those beautiful long summer days spent outside, but all that fun in the sun may be starting to show up on your skin now. I have patients coming in complaining of texture and tone changes like freckles and sun spots, dark patches known as melasma and pronounced wrinkling around the eyes.Many of these patients dutifully apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day, and are frustrated that sun damage still shows up. So what went wrong?Likely not enough sunscreen was applied (you should use a nickel size for your face and two tablespoons for your body), or the sunscreen wasn’t reapplied as often as needed as it broke down from sun, heat, water and sweaty activity.Fortunately, there are ways to turn back the hands of time. Here’s what I prescribe.
Action Plan: Freckles, Sun Spots, Melasma
When Should You Treat Summer Damage?
I perform all of these treatments throughout the summer, though many patients wait for September when they’re typically off the beach and out of extended periods of sun. This will also give serums and procedures enough time to work their magic before the holidays, when everyone wants to look good for all of those parties and photos!
Topical: First, to be truthful, treating stubborn spots and dark patches can be difficult with just a cream. I often combine skincare with procedures to get the very best outcome many patients seek.Any lightening product you use must absolutely be applied with daily SPF 30+ sunscreen in order to get and maintain results. SkinMedica Lytera, $82, is popular in my office as the number one serum to help brighten skin, and I even use it myself. It’s packed with licorice, niacinamide, vitamin C and retinoids, which are all the top ingredients you should look for when treating pigmentation issues.For melasma, I use My Body Sledgehammer, $95, which is a 4 percent hydroquinone cream—either alone or paired with Fraxel laser sessions.
Procedural: In the office, I use the Cutera Excel V laser to target freckles and brown spots and the Fraxel Restore laser to improve melasma. Treatments typically have a couple to a few days of recovery, though makeup can be worn to conceal and stay active if needed. Cost depends on the amount of area you’re treating, and can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to above a thousand.Chemical peels that utilize salicylic acid, glycolic acid and resorcinol in brand name peels like SkinMedica’s Vitalize and Rejuvenize are another option that costs less, and can work nicely for mild to moderate sun damage.
Action Plan: Fine Lines Around Eyes
Lifestyle: The sun zaps hydration from skin, which makes eye wrinkles look worse. To add to the problem, many people are dehydrated this time of year because they’re sweating and not drinking enough water to replenish, plus loading up on those sugary iced coffees and beachside margaritas! Be sure to drink plenty of water, and wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat to help this delicate area rejuvenate by keeping it out of direct rays. And hands off—rubbing your eyes will cause inflammation and make wrinkles appear worse.
My Top Eye Tip
Read more about the one simple thing you can do to prevent wrinkles around your eyes!
Topical: Studies have shown that simply using SPF 30 every day will help your skin recover better and age more slowly. Use a version labeled “hypoallergenic” around the eyes so that it doesn’t sting, and reapply as needed. Adding an eye cream to your routine twice a day can go a long way in minimizing the look of lines. The two most popular eye creams at my practice are TNS Eye Repair, $74, and TNS Illuminating Eye Cream, $55. A great option you can try in the drugstore is .
Procedural: Depending on the type and depth of the eye wrinkles plus the age of the patient, I use anything from Botox to chemical peels, lasers and injectable fillers like Restylane and Voluma. Injectables have virtually no down time and instant results, though there’s always a possibility you may experience redness or bruising. Skin treated by peels and lasers will take a few days to heal and sometimes require more than one session, though again, many patients wear makeup to conceal and continue with activities and work shortly afterwards.