So You Mistreated Your Skin this Summer . . . Now What?

It's the end of summer, and your face is wrecked. We're here to help.

You didn't listen to us, did you? Earlier in the summer, we discussed how the sun prematurely ages you—while also extolling the virtues of self-tanning—yet you still chose to bask in the glorious UV rays for hours, perhaps even days on end, while not wearing enough sunscreen or worse yet, not wearing it at all. Tsk tsk.

As summer draws to a close, perhaps you've detected something other than a deep tan, something unwelcome on your face: random patches of hyperpigmentation. But as opposed to some signs of aging, like gray hair, melasma—that's the medical term for dark spots often triggered by sun damage—doesn't make you look more distinguished. To be blunt, it adds years to your actual age, and can detract from an otherwise handsome mug. The good news is that there's help. But as with thinning hair, enlist a pro-active approach as soon as you notice the problem.

First things first, wear sunscreen. There's no way around this, and we're not going to budge on this rule. Apply lots of it and apply it every day, come rain or shine, because protecting your skin doesn't end with the changing of the seasons. Neova, a brand expressly developed to combat the sun and its unsightly and unhealthy side effects, offers innovative, cutting-edge sunscreens like DNA Damage Control Everyday. Not only is it a physical (as opposed to chemical) sunscreen, it offers high-level protection (SPF 44), is oil-free (so there's no conventional greasiness or residue), and boasts proprietary technology to also help block and reverse sun-related skin damage.

To start treating the dark spots you've already acquired, you can use either over-the-counter or prescription products. Neova's DNA Total Repair is readily available online, and is a breakthrough formula that's been clinically proven to diminish visible sun damage in spot size and intensity. But if you're finding that you need something more aggressive, consult with a dermatologist, who may prescribe a hydroquinone ointment. It will gradually and effectively bleach dark spots, typically over the course of 12 weeks, but must be used under the supervision of a physician.

And if you're ready to break out the big guns, consider a cosmetic laser treatment. Dr. Anne Chapas, the medical director of Union Square Laser Dermatology, routinely treats all types of high profile, image-driven men from actors to bankers—whose names we can't disclose, for obvious reasons—and highly recommends non-ablative procedure Fraxel for sun-damaged skin. For starters, it won't break or open the skin, meaning there's little downtime for recovery. It doesn't require a huge time commitment, either. Besides the hour of waiting for the numbing cream to kick in, the treatment takes only 20 to 30 minutes. It's not comfortable, by any means—imagine a super-intense, hot and prickly sensation slowly moving over your skin—but seeing is believing, and according to Dr. Chapas, "in one treatment, men can expect the majority of their sun spots to improve." And with additional treatments spaced four to six weeks apart, "men typically notice a significant reduction in fine lines and wrinkles." But more than looking better, "the unique Fraxel energy removes precancerous cells to help make skin healthier."

So, there you go. The options aren't exactly ideal, but you've made your bed, now it's time to lie in it.

Katie Chang is a writer and shopkeeper based in Brooklyn. Follow her at @katieshewrote.

Also on
5 Ways Men Can Maintain Their Gray
What to Do if Your Hair Starts Thinning
How to Get a Healthy, Natural-Looking Tan Without the Sun

Image courtesy of Getty Images
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