How To Undo Sun Damage, According To Dermatologists | well+well

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No matter how diligent you’ve been about using SPF, the last few months of sunbathing may have left your skin a little worse for wear. “Sun exposure during the summer months can lead to increased redness, sun spots, fine lines, and other signs of sun damage,” says Brian Hibler, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group in the city. New York, and those are just the effects that are immediately visible. “Some sun damage is at the cellular level and not obvious, but it accumulates over the years and can manifest as loss of elasticity, loss of volume, deep wrinkles, broken blood vessels and mottled hyperpigmentation.”

Obviously, regular application of sunscreen is important to avoid all of these problems, especially since “90 percent of the visible signs of aging come from unprotected exposure to ultraviolet light,” says Mona A. Gohara, MD, a dermatologist. board certified and clinical associate professor. in dermatology at the Yale School of Medicine. But aside from going back in time and remembering to wear a hat on the beach, what can you do with the damage that’s already been done?

According to derms, combating the visible effects of UV exposure is as easy as “A, B, C.” Keep scrolling through the alphabet of active ingredients to add to your routine so memories of this summer’s fun aren’t written all over your face come fall.

1. Vitamin A (also known as retinoids)

Retinoids, which are derived from vitamin A, are known to be one of the best ingredients for combating the effects of sun damage. “They convert to retinoic acid in the body and have a number of benefits for the skin, including enhanced collagen synthesis, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects to repair sun damage, and increased cell turnover that improves skin texture and tone. skin.” says Dr. Hibler. Additionally, they can “reduce the tendency for keratin cells and debris to clump together and clog pores,” which may make them useful for clearing late-summer breakouts.

Basically, retinoids can do it all and leave your skin with a smooth finish in the process. “They are the quintessential collagen builders, increasing collagen production and slowing collagen breakdown,” adds Dr. Gohara, naming retinol as the one ingredient she would want if she were stranded on a desert island. “Retinoids even out skin tone, help prevent acne, and fade acne marks. They are best for fading and preventing fine lines.”

One thing to note: If your skin is sensitive, board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, recommends bakuchiol over a retinoid. Research has shown that this gentler natural alternative can reduce sun damage just as well as retinol, and can improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, as well as skin elasticity and pigmentation, meaning it will give you same results as vitamin A without the irritation “Bakuchiol appears to be turning on genes that regulate collagen and elastin production, the same genes that retinol turns on,” says Dr. King. “And it doesn’t seem to irritate or redden the skin like retinol usually does, so it appears to be a gentler option.”

2. Vitamin B3 (also known as niacinamide)

Next, in alphabetical order: vitamin B3, also known as niacinamide. “Niacinamide is an antioxidant with brightening effects that can help fade dark spots from the sun,” says Dr. Hibler, adding that it can also reduce redness and blemishes.

And that’s not all this multipurpose ingredient can do. “It has been shown in several studies to reduce signs of skin aging, particularly skin tone and texture,” says Dr. King, who likes the ingredient for treating hyperpigmentation. “It also increases the production of ceramides in the skin, which help strengthen the skin barrier, preventing moisture loss.”

3. Vitamin C

“Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps neutralize free radicals,” explains Dr. Gohara. “Free radicals are pesky chemical particles that come from ultraviolet light and pollution. They wreak cosmetic havoc on the skin and can contribute to the formation of skin cancer. It is one of the most powerful antioxidants; helps build collagen, even skin tone, diminish fine lines and wrinkles, etc.”

Vitamin C not only minimizes the visible effects of past UV exposure, it can also prevent future damage from occurring. “Studies have shown that vitamin C is effective in protecting against ultraviolet light-induced damage and also has utility in treating sun damage,” says Dr. King. “Sun damage can create dark discolorations and dark spots, therefore vitamin C can help prevent Y lightens dark spots that are the result of UV damage.”

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