The Most Effective Way to Reverse Sun Damage

Now that your skin has been exposed to enough of the summer sun, if you haven’t been diligent about protecting it, chances are the damaging effects can creep up on your skin—think leathery texture, lines and wrinkles and dark spots.

New York dermatologist Arielle Kauvar, MD, says that overexposure to UV light damages collagen and elastin and cause freckling, uneven pigmentation, enlarged blood vessels, precancers and skin cancers. “The damage to the collagen weakens and thins the skin, eventually causing wrinkles. Elastin damage results in skin sagging,” she says.

One of the best—and most effective—ways to reverse the signs of sun damage is with an in-office procedure like Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or Fraxel. “Laser treatments remove microscopic bits of skin, which are replaced by new, healthy tissue over a period of weeks,” says Dr. Kauvar. Another option is photodynamic therapy, which uses a topically applied light-sensitive medication that’s activated by a light or laser source to destroy precancerous cells.

As with anything, good skin care is key. “It helps maintain the benefits of in-office procedures and should include daily sunscreen, antioxidants, retinoids, moisturizers and collagen-stimulating peptides,” says Dr. Kauvar.