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Preventing and Reparing Sun Damage

How to prevent and repair sun damage
How to prevent and repair sun damage
Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Everyone wants a healthy glow for the summer…but at what cost? The sun causes more than 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging! Not to mention the risk of skin cancer, which is the most common form of cancer in the United States.

Luckily there are a few ways to help prevent and potentially reverse sun damage to the skin:
Daily sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher use by adults under age 55 can reduce skin aging and can even lower your long term risk of skin cancer. Daily use may even lower your long-term risk of skin cancer. Sunscreen helps by reducing your daily sun exposure, which allows your skin time to heal.

Exfoliate using loofahs, scrubs, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA)* cleansers. These help by removing dead skin cells and making skin look smoother, as built up dead skin can make skin appear dry and blotchy.

Use a skin lightener. Stubborn brown spots and blotchy brown discoloration may appear due to sun damage. A skin lightener will not make your skin lighter, but will even out blotchy spots of unwanted color.

Hydrate your skin and body from the inside out. Time in the sun, salt water and chlorine can dry out your skin from head to toe. Drink plenty of water! As a baseline, try to consume half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 200lbs, consume 100oz of water. If you are an active individual, add 100oz to your total amount. Drink coconut water. Coconut water is full of potassium which is an important electrolyte that aids hydration. Use a good moisturizing body cream. A moisturizer with AHA or facial serum with hyaluronic acid can plump up dry skin around the eyes, making skin instantly appear less wrinkled. Continued use may help stimulate the production of new collagen, a protein that helps give skin its texture and appearance.

Visit a dermatologist. Wrinkles, blotchiness and discoloration can be improved by professional laser treatments can improve everything from blotchiness and discoloration to wrinkles.

Relax…there is still a way to obtain a sunkissed glow. The FDA has approved DHA (dihydroxyacetone) for the use of sunless tanning. DHA is the active/skin-darkening agent in self tanning creams and sprays as well as spray tan solutions. The important thing to remember with sunless tanning, is to still wear sunscreen, as the skin will still be susceptible to sun damage.