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Brighten, Smooth, And Soothe Summer-Sun Damaged Skin

Not to knock our big star in the sky—it has helped the Earth thrive for billions of years—but sometimes those golden rays can do just as much harm as good. They can wreak havoc on your skin down to a cellular level, leading to skin cancer and premature aging, including wrinkles, uneven skin tone and texture, and dark spots (hyperpigmentation). Now that the dog days of summer are past, give your skin some much-needed TLC and help alleviate any trouble spots that may have popped up during all that fun in the sun.


It seems like products that target sun or “age” spots and wrinkles are popping up as fast as you can say “sun damage.” OTC products tend to take longer to reveal results than medical-grade products or treatments, so it’s important to apply as directed and be patient—don’t give up too soon! And remember, it’s always advisable to check with your doctor or dermatologist before you begin using a new skincare product.

You’ve probably heard of retinol, a big name in the world of skin rejuvenation. Retinoids refer to prescription-strength ingredients. Retinol, a form of vitamin A, is known to decrease the appearance of sun damage and promote fresh, radiant skin by stimulating the cell turnover rate. Everyone’s skin reacts differently to retinol, so give your skin some time to adjust to a new retinol product. Start by applying every two days or so, then gradually increase to the recommended application as your skin feels comfortable.

Consider using Prana Reverse A, which contains .08% retinol serum, and nourishes with vitamins B5 and E, gotu kola, and grape seed extract while stimulating skin regeneration through micro-exfoliation. By rebuilding and restoring your skin’s natural foundation, Prana Reverse A improves skin clarity, texture, and tone.

Although hydroquinone is a powerhouse when it comes to fading dark spots, it can be harsh. Kojic acid—a gentler alternative—is a trending skin brightening ingredient that is especially popular in Japanese and Korean skincare products. Despite the “acid” moniker, kojic acid—a natural substance made from mushrooms—is generally safe to use. It goes deep into the dermis to repair and help prevent discoloration and hyperpigmentation.

Check out BioRadiance Botanical Cellular Brightening Treatment by Skin QR Organics, a hydrating and evening cream that brings out natural radiance with the help of kojic acid. Or try SkinCeuticals Phyto+, a soothing gel that combines botanical extracts with arbutin and kojic acid to improve the appearance of dark spots and promote an overall brighter, more even and radiant complexion.


An appointment at a trusted medspa, dermatologist or plastic surgeon who offers aesthetic services may be the quickest way to reverse sun damage. IPL (intense pulsed light), also known as photorejuvenation, is a proven, time-tested way to rejuvenate skin and fade dark spots. Non-invasive and nonsurgical, IPL works by damaging the melanin pigment (the brown pigment in freckles and age spots) which is then absorbed by the body, making those pesky spots less visible.

Chemical peels and laser resurfacing are also great ways to refresh your skin. The top layer of skin is removed— addressing the worst of age spots, wrinkles, acne, and scars—then your skin regenerates. Ask your aesthetician what to expect for downtime and recovery, which can vary.


While treatments are helpful, why not avoid sun damage in the first place? Think of sunscreen as the skin’s best armor in the battle against sun damage. Wear broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more every day on all exposed skin—face, neck, ears, arms, hands, décolletage, anywhere that’s not covered! Don’t let overcast or winter days fool you. Just because the sun isn’t beating down or the thermometer isn’t pushing 90+ degrees doesn’t mean harmful UVA and UVB rays aren’t doing their dirty work on your skin.

“There are many decent OTC skincare lines, but if my patients want faster, more predictable results, I always recommend medical-grade products. These lines have pharmaceutical grade ingredients that are usually stronger and formulated to have better penetration into the skin. They also have scientific data behind them, so that we can confidently recommend the products knowing that there are proven results. Because these products are stronger, they are only available at a physician’s office or medical spa, so that patients may receive guidance on what is most appropriate for their skin issues and skin type.”

-- Dr. Jeannine Hoang, United Dermatology

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