Soaking up the summer sun feels good in the moment…just like eating a whole box of pizza. But as Newton famously noted, every action has an equal and opposite reaction, which basically means eventually there will be consequences. In this case, we’re talking about UV-induced sun spots, lines and wrinkles. And while the easiest way to treat the ills of sun exposure is to avoid them by wearing SPF daily, we’ve got some remedies to undo the damage done. Fear not, this is a judgment-free zone.
Instant Fix: Cover up. Try San Diego dermatologist Melanie Palm’s favorite cushion compact (Amorepacific Age Correcting Foundation Cushion, $80; nordstrom.com), which contains broad-spectrum SPF 25 and antioxidant green tea. “It hides sun damage while repairing the skin,” says Palm.
Quick Fix: If you’re looking to get rid of discoloration permanently and quickly, lasers or peels might be your answer. “The Laser Genesis is ideal for reducing fine lines and wrinkles, blotchy redness and uneven texture caused by the sun,” says N.Y.C. dermatologist Michelle Henry. For a more aggressive option, try the Fraxel laser, “it’s the Rolls Royce of sun damage treatments,” says Henry. You’ll need a week to recover from Fraxel, but “it can tackle both recent sun spots and already etched-in wrinkles,” says Henry. A chemical peel can also resurface the skin. “Glycolic peels or Jessner peels offer minimal downtime and can improve the texture and tone of your skin,” says Palm. Prices for peels start at $75; prices for laser treatments typically start at $500.
Gradual Fix: If a visit to the dermatologist isn’t in your cards, consider topical skin brighteners, which work slowly but steadily. “ “Apply serums with spot-fading ingredients like vitamin C, kojic acid and licorice root in the morning to protect against further discoloration,” says Palm. Henry loves Clinique Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector ($41; sephora.com), a serum that’s packed with antioxidants, botanical extracts and salicylic acid. “It’s gentle, but comparable to prescription-strength treatments,” says Henry.