Protect yourself from the sun

Summer is almost over, but the less desirable effects of the beach, tennis and golf matches and backyard barbecues linger on, all too obvious on our faces and hands – the dreaded “age spots,” sun spots and the diffuse brown stains known as melasma.  So, it’s back to school and back to work on our faces, as holiday parties are only weeks away. Here’s the skinny on the best way to restore and repair. 

#1 Sunscreen

Use it every day! Every time you climb in your car, you’re in the sun. Here’s a primer of what you need:

SPF: refers to the UVB protection. You need at least SPF 30.

Broad spectrum: refers to the UVA. This is what really causes a lot of the brown. It’s also the   wavelength in tanning beds. 

Overhead lighting and infrared: you need protection from these sources, too. Most commercial sunscreens do not have this. 

Suggested products

  1. Clear defense sunscreen 
  2. Colorescience
  3. Physical Fusion UV Defense


#2 Bleaching creams

Use one to two times daily initially. These come in two categories:

Hydroquinones – These are prescription strength (up to 12%), and are the quickest brightening agents, but these are not for long-term maintenance. 

Non-hydroquinones – Not as strong, but may be used during pregnancy, and are great for maintenance. Suggested product: Pigment Regulator (SkinCeuticals) 


#3 Chemical Peels

In this case, stronger is not better, because melasma (diffuse brown) is inflammatory. A series of light peels gives longer-lasting results than one strong one.

Suggestions: Vitalize/Rejunvenize (SkinMedica) 


#4 Mild Laser Treatments

These are done in a physician’s office. Again, a series of gentle treatments is more effective than one aggressive treatment. 

Suggestions: Revlite Photofacial, Clear & Brilliant


#5 Retin-A and Antioxidants 

This is your team to prevent, repair, restore. Vitamins (anti-oxidants) block sun damage before it starts. Rein increases cell turnover (restore) and collagen production (repair). 

Suggestions: TNS Essential Serum (SkinMedica), Vitamin CE with Ferulic Acide (Ark-La-Tex Dermatology) 

Remember, not all brown spots are benign. Be sure to see your dermatologist before starting a skin care regimen.