Sun Damage 101: Can You Turn Back the Hands of Time?

June 10, 2016
Jessie Quinn
By: Jessie Quinn | by L'Oréal
Sun Damage 101: Can You Turn Back the Hands of Time?

While you can’t actually go back to fix the errors of your youth, is it possible to turn back the hands of time when it comes to your skin? Can you reverse the signs of sun damage and reduce the appearance of dark spots, wrinkles, and other side effects of too much time in the sun? To find out, we turned to board-certified dermatologist and expert, Dr. Michael Kaminer.

Short, albeit hypocritical, answer? Yes…and not in the slightest. Yes, you can diminish the visible appearance of sun damage—the wrinkles, the dark spots, the fine lines—thanks to a number of excellent products available. But, a lot of damage goes beyond the skin’s surface and unfortunately, cannot be reversed once it’s occurred. This is why starting safe sun habits early in life, and maintaining them, is so unbelievably important. For the sun damage you can’t see, be sure to visit a dermatologist yearly for a full-body skin check where you’ll have your skin examined from your soles to your scalp to ensure that the damage that occurred in your youth hasn’t developed into something more serious. When it comes to skin cancers like melanoma, early detection is key.

Now for that aesthetic sun damage that you can address. First things first, if you don’t already, make wearing a sunscreen with broad-spectrum SPF every day a habit. Broad-spectrum means the sunscreen will help to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. “Sunscreens are a must and will prevent future sun damage,” Kaminer says. “If I could get one message across to somebody in their teens and 20s, it would be the liberal use of sunscreen. This is the absolute best way to prevent sun damage, there is no equal!” He also suggests using careful sun avoidance strategies like wearing a hat, long sleeves, and seeking shade under an umbrella when at the beach, park, or anywhere with direct sunlight.

Aside from applying sunscreen and being extra cautious, you may also want to look into incorporating skin care products developed to address the signs of premature skin aging. One we love is a vitamin C serum, like SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic. This serum’s formula includes antioxidants that can help brighten the look of your complexion and may also protect the skin from environmental aggressors. In addition to applying a vitamin C serum, Kaminer suggests applying retinols and glycolic acid topically to reduce the appearance of surface-level sun damage on the skin.

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