How To Reverse Visible Summer Sun Damage, According To A Dermatological Nurse

Come the end of summer, my skin is always in need of some serious rehabilitation. After a season of sunscreen, humidity, sweat and a vacation lifestyle that involves a bit more fun than normal, my complexion is always in need of an overhaul. Not only is a deep clean of my precious pores in order, but it’s time to start doing something about the sun damage that has started to creep in on my once-clear complexion.

Age and sun exposure can lead to new little freckles, prompt new splotches or darken existing melasma, even with fairly rigorous sun protection. Despite the fact that I’m fairly meticulous about sunscreen use, I am still finding new damage after only a few months of sun exposure. However, all is not lost.

Megan Cheatham, an aesthetic nurse practitioner at SkinSpirit, noted that not only can some visible//aesthetic sun damage be reversed or treated, but there’s an option for every budget and issue.

She explained that for the most part, when it comes to the surface of your skin, sun damage manifests itself as small brown spots, large brown spots, wrinkles, red spots, hypopigmentation (a lighter discoloration of the skin) or hyperpigmentation (a darker discoloration of the skin). Depending on the severity, Cheatham said these issues can be treated with a combination of at-home skin care, chemical peels, lasers and annual dermatological checkups.

When it comes to at-home skin care regimes, she recommended checking to see if you have any products with tyrosinase inhibitors, since tyrosinase is what jump-starts melanin production.

Common tyrosinase inhibitors include:

“Sun damage can cause an over-production of melanin, which causes darkening pigments in your skin (or what we like to call sunspots),” she said. ”[These ingredients] all reduce tyrosinase activity, which prevents melanin formation.”

The combination of lasers and tyrosinase inhibitors are your best bet for sun-exposed skin, Cheatham said. “Laser treatments like Sciton Broad Band Light, [a treatment that uses light energy to boost the production of elastin and collagen], can also encourage melanin reduction. Chemical peels will also help reduce the appearance of sun damage and help encourage new stimulation of skin and collagen by removing the top epidermal layer.”

It’s never too late to start a skincare plan to treat sun damage, and Cheatham encouraged us to reach out to a dermatologist or aesthetic provider to discuss treatment options. Below, I’ve rounded up some of the best products for tackling post-summer sun damage and preventing it in the first place, many of which were recommended by Cheatham herself. Pick one up and give your skin some much-needed pampering in the months to come.

HuffPost may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Every item is independently selected by the HuffPost Shopping team. Prices and availability are subject to change.


Murad Rapid Dark Spot Correcting Serum

This is about as powerful as it gets without a prescription. Murad’s serum is made with resorcinol and tranexamic acid as well as glycolic acid that removes dead skin cells to reveal a brighter, smoother complexion.


The Inkey List Tranexamic Acid Hyperpigmentation Treatment

This lightweight Inkey List gel is an overnight treatment designed to reduce discoloration. It’s made with tranexamic acid, acai berry acid and vitamin C to promote a bright and even complexion while reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation.


Paula’s Choice Clinical Discoloration Repair Serum

This light serum gel from Paula’s Choice is rich in tranexamic acid, which can visibly fade and prevent dark spots. It also has niacinamide to break up visible discoloration and fade brown spots, as well as bakuchiol, which can target the underlying causes of discoloration and help promote an even and bright skin tone.


SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum

This SkinMedica brightening serum helps to address issues like discoloration and make skin bright, even and healthy regardless of skin type. Niacinamide and tetrapeptide-30 help treat and help prevent dark spots and other signs of aging and sun damage.


Alastin Hydratint Pro Mineral Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 36

This tinted mineral sunblock from Alastin protects the skin from sun damage and environmental pollution, all while giving skin a lovely glow.


Revision Skincare C+ Correcting Complex 30%

Get your glow on with this Revision Skincare complex. It’s rich in vitamin C and promotes healthy, youthful skin and helps to reduce the look of dark spots and sun damage. It’s an investment, but one your skin will thank you for.


Revision Skincare Intellishade Matte Age-Defying Tinted Moisturiser 45 SPF

Not only does this Revision Skincare tinted moisturizer provide excellent prevention against sun damage, but it’s formulated to hydrate and brighten skin, leaving it soft and smooth with the perfect matte finish.


SkinCeuticals Phyto A+ Brightening Treatment

You can’t go wrong with Skinceuticals, and this brightening treatment that doubles as a moisturizer has a gel-cream texture and a formula designed to reduce dullness, redness and even excess oil production. It’s great for sensitive or acne-prone skin, thanks to azelaic acid that specifically targets clogged pores in addition to its work as a tyrosinase inhibitor.


Colorescience Sunforgettable Total Protection Face Shield Flex SPF 50

Even out skin tone and drench your skin in healthy ingredients with Colorscience’s powerful sunblock. It is buildable and has a natural tinted finish that blurs imperfections but feels like a second skin.


Jan Marini Antioxidant Daily Face Protectant SPF 33

Providing both UVA and UVB protection, this mineral sun block by Jan Marini is full of antioxidants and nourishing ingredients that won’t leave skin feeling oily or greasy.


Colorescience Even Up MultiCorrection Serum

Cheatham also recommended this Colorscience serum, which is lightweight, hydrating and multitasking. Peptides, ceramides and hyaluronic acid give the look of younger, smoother and more hydrated skin, while antioxidants can help to diminish the look of dark spots, discoloration and more, revealing even skin.

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