Repairing Sun Damaged Skin

How to Reverse Sun Damage

Ok, we all are diligent now about sun screen and we have SPF in all of our lotions and potions but what do we do about the damage that is already there? Remember the days of baby oil and light-reflecting beach pads? Second degree burns over spring break and don’t even get us started on the high-altitude ski burns.

Unfortunately, sun damage isn’t only skin-deep. UV radiation alters the actual DNA of your skin cells, causing lines, wrinkles, discoloration, and even cancer. “There’s a meter in your skin. Every minute you’re out in the sun, your body registers it,” says Neal Schultz, M.D., a cosmetic dermatologist based in New York City and creator of DermTV.com. But here’s a ray of (UV-free) light: You can reverse the damage. “Whenever you start protecting yourself from the sun, you will stop the process of additional damage and start to reverse, to some extent, what you’ve already accumulated,” Schultz says. Throw in this four-step treatment, and you are well on your way to some serious skin recovery.

  1. Exfoliate. Chemical exfoliation dissolves dead skin cells instead of scrubbing them off. Look for a product with 5-8 percent concentration of glycolic acid which is vital in removing the extra layers of dead skin cells that are holding all of the brown pigment that has clumped and accumulated over the years. Ask Traci about the peels and products available at Medical Aesthetics.
  2. Reverse brown spots. While the product you need is commonly called “skin bleach,” there’s nothing bleachy about it. It will have the end effect of lightening the brown areas of your skin, but it will do so by stopping the skin’s uneven production of melanin (brown pigment) that your skin churns out when it tries to fight UV radiation.
  3. No more burns. To maintain your improvement, use sunscreen every day to prevent additional damage. New FDA recommendations emphasize using sunscreen labeled as broad spectrum (meaning it protects against both UVA and UVB rays) with SPF values of 15 or higher.