10 Ways to Erase Sun Damage
If you forgot to slather on liberal amounts of SPF all season, there’s no need to panic -- we’ve rounded up 10 ways to help reverse signs of damage. From getting rid of dead skin cells to staying hydrated with a rich moisturizer, click the photo to see our tips and start getting brighter, healthier looking skin right now.
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Go on a Veggie Kick
All those weekends at the beach house ... fun? Definitely. Great for your skin? Probably not. If you want a luminous glow like Marion Cotillard's, hit the salad bar. "You can start bolstering your skin from the inside out by eating at least one serving of leafy greens every day," says New Orleans dermatologist Mary Lupo. "They're packed with healing antioxidants."
Quench Your Complexion
Still hitting the sand without an ironclad SPF? Really? Well, at least lube up once you're back home with a hydrating formula like Estee Lauder's Cyber White Brightening Moisture Creme ($75; esteelauder.com). "Moisturizing immediately after sun exposure stops inflammation in its tracks," says Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann.
Adjust Your A Game
Irony alert! Retinoids can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, yet dermatologists insist they're critical for reducing wrinkles and others signs of sun damage. Our advice: Use vitamin A derivatives at night and a hefty SPF during the day. We love Roc's Retinol Correxion Max Wrinkle Resurfacing System ($24; target.com).
Look on the Bright Side
The thin skin on our hands and around our eyes is especially vulnerable to rays. (Did you know that dark circles can be caused by sun-related melanin production?) Treat those areas with TLC by slathering on a product spiked with sunscreen and skin brighteners, says dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, who recommends products from Avon's Anew Clinical line, like the Even Spot Correcting hand cream ($15; avon.com).
These Heliocare Antioxidant capsules ($30/60; heliocare.com) have a secret: antioxidants from the extract of Polypodium leucatomos. This tropical fern native to the Americas was once an aquatic plant but adapted to land eons ago by creating its own mechanism for avoiding UV damage. "One pill a day is a holistic way to slow the overproduction of melanin, which can lead to brown spots," says Dr. Baumann.
Get Serious About C
It's one of the safest and most effective ways to counter discoloration, but like all antioxidants, vitamin C is ultra-vulnerable to light and heat. Enter Lumene Beauty Drops ($23; drugstore.com), opaque capsules that hold the timed-release brightener. Twist one open and smooth the gel onto clean, dry skin every morning. Then top with your BFF sunscreen.
Do Something Shady
Recommitting to SPF after weeks of negligence? Smart move. Now make sure you're doing it right: Reapply sunscreen throughout the day (try a powder version for work or a spray if you're outside a lot), and never underestimate the value of a hip pair of shades and a brimmed hat like Hayden Panettiere's for added protection.
Don't assume you need a laser to do something about those budding brown spots. Bleaching agents, such as hydroquinone, or botanical lighteners, like kojic acid or licorice root, can fade your sun-related souvenirs, says Dr. Baumann. The Chanel Le Blanc Targeted Brightening Spot Corrector ($98; chanel.com), a blend of gentle acids and pearl protein, claims to lighten spots by up to 90 percent in eight weeks.
Hide and Go Sleek
Like a strategically placed pillow covering a wine stain on a sofa, foundation is used to merely mask uneven skin tone or spots. But new, improved versions like Clinique's Even Better Compact Makeup ($31; clinique.com), as well as BB and CC creams like Kiehl's version ($37; kiehls.com), are made with sunscreen and potent doses of vitamin C, so they help treat sun abuse while they conceal it. "These formulas tend to be sheer, so apply generously," says dermatologist Francesca Fusco.
Clear the Decks
Dead skin cells are like a gaggle of chatty co-workers: They prevent dutiful skin-care agents, including those that reduce UV-induced cell damage, from doing their jobs. The best way to get rid of them, advises Dr. Fusco, is to exfoliate daily with a cream that contains alpha-hydroxy or lactic acids. Even better, pick a product with both, like Salma Hayek's Nuance Clarity Daily Resurfacing Pads ($20; cvs.com).