We have had a great question from Donna asking what can be done to ameliorate signs of sun damage. Now this is a topic that we all want to know more about.
Age spots… hyper pigmentation… sun spots, call them what you will, we hate those dark patches that appear on our faces, hands and legs – and then intensify with age. Obviously the best way to deal with them is not to get them in the first place – but that is nigh on impossible! The spots are caused by life-giving sunlight. Since a lifetime spent, Nosferatu style, in a dank, dark cellar would cause a whole lot more problems that it could ever solve, the best we can do is try to minimise excessive UV exposure with hats and sunscreens. Sun spots are, unfortunately, pretty much inevitable once you hit your 40s but don’t despair, there are ways to make them less visible.
There are two substances that really help to lighten spots and brighten skin when applied topically – these are rose hip oil and vitamin C. Pai Skincare does a wonderful organic rose hip oil, or you could try something with a high concentration of rose hip oil plus other skin boosting ingredients such as Tata Harper’s Replenishing Nutrient Complex or Neal’s Yard Wild Rose Beauty Balm. Some great vitamin C products include Dr Perricone’s Vitamin C Ester and Dr Sebagh’s Pure Vitamin C Powder Cream. Those are both full-power treatments designed to be used intensively over a few days. You may prefer to try a serum that contains vitamin C amongst other ingredients like REN’s Keep Young an Beautiful or, Trinny’s favourite, Jan Marini’s C Esta Serum.
Whilst products applied to the skin will go some way to help tone down those spots, the big guns in skin-tone correction are the laser treatments. The ‘Aurora’ or IPL (Intense Pulsed Light) treatment is great for dealing with small sun spots on the face, chest and hands. If your discolouration is widespread it might be worth considering going for broke and trying the gold standard in rejuvenation therapies – a Fraxel (Fraxelated Light) treatment.
Both of these laser treatments are best done in the winter. They cannot be administered to tanned or sunburnt skin and you must rigorously protect your skin from sunlight after treatment. As always, the most important thing is to find a clinic that really knows what they are doing. Don’t be seduced by fancy brochures – get a personal recommendation (hint: in London we go to Dr Sebagh).
Be aware that no product nor treatment will actually reverse sun damage. They will definitely help to lighten sun spots but if you think ‘Yay, I’m cured’ and rush back out to roast yourself, unprotected in the midday sun, then those horrible dark patches will be back faster than you can say “mad dogs and Englishmen”! Please do your precious skin a favour: wear an SPF of between 15 and 30, depending on the sun strength, on your face, chest, hands and feet – every day. And if you are going out in the summer sunshine, don’t forget your hat!