every time you get a tan the DNA in your skin is being damaged, which is the #1 cause of hyperpigmentation (AKA brown spots), wrinkles & skin cancer. those “cute” freckles are actually a sign of injury to the skin that will only worsen with time. getting “a tan” is the result of your skin trying to protect itself by increasing the production of melanin (the dark pigment found in skin), that’s why people with darker skin tones take longer to burn than those with fair skin. however, no skin type is exempt from the damaging effects of the sun. even if burning is not an issue, everyone’s skin is susceptible to sun-induced wrinkles. remember, there are 2 types of rays: UVAging and UVBurning…

sun exposure accounts for 90% of all visible signs of aging. studies have shown that just a 2% increase in sun damage can age the face by 3 years (cringe). what’s worse, UV rays will counteract the beneficial ingredients in your skincare products such as antioxidants, peptides, etc, so you’re wasting your time and money if you aren’t shielding your face with SPF

a few statistics

1 in 5 americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime
1 in 3 cancers diagnosed in the United States is skin cancer
80% of skin cancer occurs on the head, neck and hands as they are exposed to the sun the most

now that we’ve scared you a little bit, let’s discuss prevention & how to treat…

prevention

SPF: look for a broad-spectrum “mineral formula” that contains zinc oxide. it’s the safest and most effective UVA/UVB filter and won’t clog your pores or cause an allergic reaction. mineral sunscreen is not absorbed by the skin, but designed to sit on the surface to reflect the sun’s rays

 

 

antioxidants: SPF and antioxidants are a power couple when it comes to fighting sun damage. when harmful rays hit your skin, SPF absorbs them while antioxidants neutralize the free radicals created by them before they cause damage *look for an antioxidant serum containing vitamins C & E*

 

 

how to treat

retinoids (retinol/retin-A): stimulate the production of fresh, new skin cells and encourage aging/damaged cells to speed up their renewal process, which helps fade discoloration and resurface the skin’s texture for a smooth, even-toned complexion. however, they’re not designed for the faint-of-heart, so make sure you’re educated on how to use them before jumping the gun. you can see a great explanation of what retinol is here as well as a vid on how to apply: here

 

 

AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids): are chemical exfoliants that work to remove the rough, surface layer of dead skin cells by speeding up the skin’s natural exfoliation process. if you aren’t doing anything to slough them off, they start to accumulate, resulting in a dull, lifeless complexion. the most common AHA’s include glycolic and lactic acid *apply 2-3x/wk post-cleansing*

 

 

hydroquinone: is the only lightening treatment officially approved by the FDA. it whitens skin cells and prevents melanin/pigment from forming. please note: a product with a 2% solution may take 2 to 3 months to fade a dark spot. however, refrain from using a prescription strength as it can be too aggressive and make the problem worse

 

 

vitamin C: hyperpigmentation is a struggle for us both due to sun damage and something we work hard at reversing. vitamin C, also known as the “brightening antioxidant,” not only protects your skin from free radical damage but also inhibits tyrosinase (an enzyme that stimulates melanin production)

 

 

when it comes to medical treatments, here’s what we recommend to clients…

photofacial: this treatment is the holy grail when it comes to reversing sun damage/hyperpigmentation. it works to create an even complexion by targeting brown spots (including freckles), redness and acne.  we’ve both had our face and décolleté treated and can’t believe how much pigment we were able to bring to the surface. our hyperpigmentation is now substantially lighter and in some places completely gone *keep in mind, a photofacial isn’t a one-hit-wonder. it takes a series of treatments and a committed lifestyle to keep up with your results* see everything you need to know about a photofacial: here