10 Ways to Repair Sun Damage
Flush Out the Chlorine
"I can tell when all my blondes-Kate Hudson, Scarlett Johansson, Uma Thurman-have spent a lot of time in the pool because their hair gets a faint green tinge," says L.A. hairstylist David Babaii. Sound familiar? Try using a detox shampoo and conditioner (like Fekkai Marine Clean Detox shampoo, $23; fekkai.com.) for a couple of weeks to eliminate the residual offender.
Have your buttery highlights taken on an orange cast? Don't blame your colorist. "Sun breaks down pigments in the hair," says cosmetic chemist Mort Westman of Oak Brook, Ill. Washing with a purple-tinted shampoo (such as Clairol Professional Shimmer Lights shampoo, $8; sallybeauty.com) neutralizes reddish tones, so your hair will look more like Jennifer Aniston's-and less like Carrot Top's.
Recharge Your Batteries
Sun exposure breaks down collagen, leaving your skin sagging like a deflated balloon. Shock it back into shape, literally, with one of the new over-the-counter products (like Aveeno Ageless Vitality Restorative Night Treatment, $40; target.com) that uses electricity to rejuvenate skin, says Miami dermatologist Leslie Baumann. By layering two creams with opposing charges-a gray mineral concentrate followed by a white activator cream—you increase the flow of ions into the skin, boosting collagen.
Smooth Away Scars
Heat and humidity are like lighter fluid for acne. To treat any scars left behind, try Fraxel laser treatments.Though pricey (one session runs $800 to $1,200, and it usually takes multiple visits), this collagen-generating procedure is "the gold standard for indented scars," says New Orleans dermatologist Mary Lupo.
Heal the Burn
Mistakes happen. So do sunburns. Don’t wait to treat them: On the first day, take an anti-inflammatory (e.g., Advil) to reduce pain and the inflammation that leads to DNA damage, says N.Y.C. dermatologist Patricia Wexler. For the next few days use a moisturizer that contains an anti-inflammatory like aloe, such as DDF Ultra Lite Moisturizing Dew ($38; sephora.com). When the burn is gone, exfoliate with an alpha-hydroxy cleanser a few times a week (try Dermalogica Skin Resurfacing cleanser, $37; dermalogica.com). And stay out of the sun-AHAs make skin sensitive.
Fade Those Freckles
What do you have to show for your vacation? A few new freckles-or even larger patches of discoloration. "UV light causes pigment cells to go into overdrive," explains N.Y.C. cosmetic surgeon Charles Boyd. Get rid of spots with a prescription hydroquinone-retinol combo such as Tri-Luma ($150; triluma.com for info). If you can't tolerate this aggressive lightener, choose a gentler OTC bleaching cream (like Vivite Night Renewal facial cream, $79; viviteskincare.com for info).
Zap the Red
A sunburn isn't the only reason your face looks red after the beach. "UV exposure creates broken blood vessels on your cheeks and nose," says N.Y.C. dermatologist David Colbert. To fix them, he recommends the Gemini KTP laser, which is $400 to $600 a session (two to three are necessary). A tinted lotion (like Eucerin Redness Relief lotion SPF 15, $15; amazon.com) or powder (try Clinique Redness Solutions mineral powder, $33; clinique.com) can also help temporarily counteract redness.
De-Spot Your Decollete
When applying SPF, Kate Winslet clearly doesn't stop at her jaw. If you've been more lax, repair the damage with a hydroquinone product such as Neocutis Blanche skin lightening cream ($105; neocutis.com for info), says Dr. Mary Lupo. A permanent but costlier option: Have your dermatologist laser away spots with a Q-switch or an Alexandrite beam (approximately $500; most require one to three treatments).
When your locks are fried, a keratin treatment is your fastest ticket out of hair hell. During this three-to-four-hour smoothing process-which works best on medium to thick strands since it flattens them out a bit-a stylist drenches hair in keratin protein, sealing it into the cuticle with an iron. Starting at $250, it’s not cheap, and results last only a few months. Yet devotees say it can make the coarsest strands baby-soft. To maintain results, try Keratin Complex Infusion Keratin Replenisher ($40; keratincomplex.com for salons).
After a summer of hot-pink pedis, your toenails are probably the color of a corn chip-and in need of resurfacing. "Toenails are thicker than fingernails and more porous; they absorb the pigment in polish and stain," says Jan Arnold, co-founder of nail company CND. The good news: Since the shade is locked into only the top nail layers, it can be easily sanded away with an inexpensive buffer (such as All Season Pastel four-sided buffers, $1 each; sallybeauty.com).