How to Avoid Splotchy Skin This Summer

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Even with constant reapplying of SPF, the sun’s damaging rays can really change your skin tone and texture over the course of just one summer. But it doesn’t have to be that way. These experts say there are ways you can protect your skin from the effects of UV exposure and avoid the dark spots and splotchy skin that can last far longer than the summer months. 

Check the Type of Sunscreen You’re Using

“It’s all about protection from UVA, UVB, IR rays,” says Spokane, WA dermatologist Wm. Philip Werschler, MD. “Even under intense light indoors, you need the broad-spectrum sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, shade, et cetera.”

Before grabbing a sunscreen at the store, check the ingredients to ensure you’re using one that has the best possible coverage. Zinc oxide gives you broad spectrum protection from to UV-A1, meaning your skin is getting the best protection. “I urge consistent use of a micronized zinc sunscreen,” says Richmond, VA plastic surgeon Ruth Hillelson, MD. “By ‘consistent’ I mean application prior to going outdoors and reapplication every few hours when there is exertional activity.”

Up the Antioxidants

Many studies have found that certain powerhouse ingredients can help strengthen the skin’s resilience to the effects of the sun. “For adults, to prevent sun damage and blotchy skin we must go beyond just regular sunscreen use to adding potent medical-grade antioxidants to the routine,” says Southlake, TX dermatologist Janine Hopkins, MD. “I am an advocate of products that contain polyphenol and resverstrol, antioxidants derived from green tea. These reduce inflammation in the skin that can lead to blotchy redness and they protect from free radicals that age and damage skin cells.” 

Consider Oral Supplements

Dr. Hopkins also recommends going a step further and incorporating ingestibles that can help skin repair itself.  “Oral vitamin B3, also called nicotinomide, has been shown in scientific studies to help minimize UV damage and regulate DNA repair in skin cells to help reduce the risk of skin cancer,” she explains. “In addition, I also recommend Heliocare dietary supplements which have also been shown to help improve the health of the skin.” 

Double the SPF

Staying vigilant is key adds Dr. Hillelson, who says that sun damage can happen anywhere, not just days you go out in the sun to enjoy the outdoors. “I encourage my patients to keep a powdered sunblock, like ISDN, in their cars for frequent applications. This powdered sunblock remains stable, even when the car heats up, and application is quick and easy.”

Erasing Prior Damage

While preventing further damage is step one, to lessen the appearance of accumulated sun damage, there are some in-office procedures with little downtime that can give skin a fresh, new glow. “To safely treat blotchy skin this time of year we use Vivace and Potenza microneedling systems with radio frequency,” adds Fresno, CA dermatologist Kathleen Behr, MD. “We apply tranexamic acid topically to penetrate the microneedling channels and help even skin tone. This is combined with medical-grade skin care.”

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