It is impossible to treat sun damage completely, the sun exposure has irreversibly damaged your skin cells and it can’t be taken back, you can, however, treat the external signs of sun damage.
|Check out my cunning use of dried out old bark as a metaphor!|
Before I say anything else, and I KNOW it is has been said a million times before, but you MUST use Sunscreen from now on! If you want to up your daily protection make sure you're using Vitamin C. If there is one thing that can really help sun damage, this is it. It protects the skin from free radical damage which will help with the appearance of brown spots and boost collagen production to improve elasticity. It works best when labelled as ascorbic acid on the ingredients list, but anything with ascorbic or ascorbate is usually vitamin C and therefore great for sun damage. I use the fab La Roche Posay Redermic C10 which has 10% pure vitamin C (it is actually the second ingredient on the list.)
Now, let’s get tackling the visible signs of sun damage.
Age Spots (Senile Lentigo, snappy name!)
What used to be cute freckles, is now clearly age spots. Luckily this is one sign of sun damage that can be treated easily. What you are looking to do is inhibit or reverse the melanin production (the bit that created your tan) so your skin returns to it's previous even tone. First things first, start the sunscreen to stop it getting worse, the screening will stop the UV rays triggering the melanin production and preserve any gains you get from the ingredients below.
I currently use the Ultra Sun Anti Pigmentation SPF50+ £35 as it contains Vitamin C. You can still get a tan through this formula though, don't worry. It is the best SPF I know for reducing pigmentation and keeping it away. If you suffer from melasma then you must try this.
I would advise a combination of the following 2 methods;
1) Glycolic Acid, this will strip away the damaged older skin revealing fresher, even toned skin beneath - Pixi Glow Tonic or Nip & Fab Glycolic Fix would both be affordable solutions. If you want to know more, read up here. Which exfoliator is right for you?
2) Niacinamide (Vit B3)
I get my niacinamide from our trusty friend - La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo, which really is a power house for the price. It's being thrown in every other formulation at the moment though, so you may find you already have some in a product already in your arsenal, go check your ingredient lists.
You will hear a great deal about Hydraquinone for treating age spots, please don't go there. It has such a patchy safety record it's illegal in the UK for good reason.
Rough, dry skin
Hyaluronic acid - A true friend to ageing skin, see a more thorough post here; Everything you wanted to know about hyaluronic acid but were too afraid to ask. Hyaluronic acid is a humectant which means it traps moisture and plumps the skin. It is only a cosmetic effect, but one which can make a massive difference to the appearance of parched skin. I thoroughly recommend Madara SOS Hydra Repair Intensive Serum - £37 as it is a great mix of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Hyaluronic acid, Antioxidants and essential oils. It is also beautifully packaged and organic. This is a great product to hit most bases if your serious about re-hydrating your skin.
If you want a product that can be left on overnight to leave you with softened, hydrated skin the next morning, then I thoroughly recommend Avon Anew Hydra Recovery Mask £20. I have been trialing this for a month or so and it makes a massive difference. If, like me, you have oily skin, you will be amazed how light this feels on and how good it makes your skin look. It contains both sizes of hyaluronic acid, urea and phosholipids, that trap moisture and help other products penetrate. Well done Avon for producing such an affordable high-tech product. It looks really cool in the jar too.