Can You Reverse Sun Damage?
Dermatologists are asked this question ALL. THE. TIME. So, what’s the answer? Can we really put the brakes on sun damage or even throw the car in reverse on all of our age spots, wrinkles and fine lines from years of overexposure?
Well, many experts will say it’s impossible to obliterate all ill effects of childhood sunburns and the like, but it’s easy to improve upon our skin at any time and, with good habits, YES, we can reverse most of the adverse effects of sun damage. More importantly, preventing and protecting our skin from future UV rays is highly attainable.
Here are five science-backed ways to turn back the clock on sun damaged skin.
1. Protect Your Skin
Ask almost any doctor, like those at the Skin Cancer Foundation, for their number one skincare tip and they’ll likely say, “Sunscreen, sunscreen and more sunscreen!”
When choosing a sun cream, use one that’s got an SPF of 30 or higher and try to find one that’s considered “Broad Spectrum” meaning it blocks both UVA (causes aging skin) and UVB (causes sunburns) rays. Experts say to apply two tablespoons worth of sunscreen thirty minutes before going outside. Slather on more sunscreen every two hours. And, always reapply immediately after swimming or sweating.
Pro tip: Even if it looks cloudy or you’re driving (the sun can penetrate windows), be sure to cover up. If you’ll be in direct sunlight for a longer period, wear UVA/UVB protection clothing. When possible, seek out shade or bring an umbrella to the beach.
2. Use NAD+ Face Cream
You would be forgiven for thinking NAD+ is a miracle cream. NAD (short for nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is a coenzyme that can inhibit all the icky damage done by environmental stress, pollution and yes...the sun. Harvard University gained notoriety recently for a hefty chunk of research on NAD+, which can also be taken in other forms (e.g. Iontophoresis patch or even injections) to help with all sorts of vitality concerns.
As a facial product (see AgelessRX’s NAD+ Face Cream), it’s been found to dramatically reduce the signs of skin aging and improve dark spots, wrinkles, fine lines as well as boost dermal elasticity. Perhaps most exciting? It’s been found to reverse skin aging effects from sun damage and to protect it from future harmful UV rays. Learn more here.
3. Consider Laser Therapy
Laser treatments, both ablative and nonablative, have become more widely available and recognized for helping reverse sun damage and improving the appearance of aging skin. Specific laser therapies are more effective at treating wrinkles and fine lines. Others are better for age spots or at managing skin conditions like rosacea. Lasers can also boost collagen production. Your best bet is to speak with your dermatologist or doctor before committing to a plan.
Laser therapy is much more effective when done along with a proper skincare routine. And, contrary to popular belief, lasers will not increase your risk for skin cancer. In fact, according to experts at the Skin Cancer Foundation, laser treatments have been shown to reduce the risk.
4. See a Dermatologist On-the-Regular
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the U.S. and worldwide? It’s estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. Thankfully, it’s highly preventable and treatable. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends you seek out a practicing dermatologist once a year for a full body skin check-up. Go more often if you notice any new moles, freckles, changes to your skin or are in a higher risk group.
At your visit, your dermatologist can talk you through your skincare routine, what type of moisturizer is best for your skin type and can address any aging skin concerns you have. Many dermatologists also offer in-office treatments to help improve the look of age spots, freckles, fine lines and wrinkles.
For tips on how to find and select the right dermatologist, visit the American Academy of Dermatology.
5. Bulk Up on Vitamin A (retinoids, retinol)
A derivative of Vitamin A, scientists and doctors agree that topical retinoids and retinol pretty much check all the boxes for sun damaged (also known as photoaged) skin. In its most potent form, Tretinoin (as in AgelessRX's Anti-Wrinkle Tretinoin), it's been shown to reduce all manner of age related skin concerns from fine lines and wrinkles to adult acne. And, yes, it can actually repair UV damage. What else can this powerhouse product do? Generate rapid cell turnover. Kickstart collagen production, fade dark spots, freckles and smooth out pigmentation.
While retinol products are over-the-counter, retinoids (Tretinoin) are prescription only. Consult your dermatologist about what type of Vitamin A cream, how often and how much you should use.