How to Have Healthy Summer Skin
By Lois Joy Johnson
The sun is a frenemy, not your friend. Yes, it's sneaking in a little vitamin D for your bones and a hint of "color," but those UVA/ UVB rays are really out to sabotage you. The combo of age plus years of sun exposure have already weakened the underlying collagen and elastin support system of your skin. Thanks to decades of summer sun your face and body probably have sag, dryness, brown spots and wrinkles to show for it. Maybe-like me-you've even had a few close calls with skin cancer. This is the season to take charge, protect your skin head to toe and get serious about managing your complexion issues. If you spend more time outdoors-walking, gardening, driving a convertible and playing golf or tennis you're an A-list target for extra sun damage. See your dermatologist ASAP about suspicious spots or lesions, and meanwhile, select products with proven ingredients that make a difference and follow these five new rules.
Wear a Daily, Non-Greasy, Lightweight Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB Sunscreen with an SPF 30+
New FDA guidelines as of June mean a sunscreen must say broad spectrum UVA/ UVB protection plus the SPF number on the label to indicate full counteraction of both burning and aging rays. The SPF only designates a product's ability to protect against UVB burning rays. Unless that UVA/ UVB label is also displayed even an SPF 50 isn't going to protect you from UVA aging rays that penetrate deeper into the skin to sabotage firmness, color and texture. Both UVA and UVB rays can contribute to skin cancer so across the board protection is the goal. Melanoma the most serious type of skin cancer will account for 75,000 cases of skin cancer in 2012- don't be a statistic. Try: Neutrogena Pure & Free Liquid SPF 50 ($12.99, ulta.com) or L'Oreal Paris Sublime Sun Advanced Sunscreen UVA/UVB SPF 50 for Face ($10.99, ulta.com)
Use A Retinol Serum at Night to Rebuild Collagen and Counteract Brown Spots Retinol, a form of vitamin A, is proven to brighten the skin and restore firmness as it plumps up lines and wrinkles. It stimulates cell renewal and collagen growth. It freshens the look and puts back the stuffing and spring in your skin- like restoring an old sofa that's stained and lost shape. Serums offer concentrated delivery in a light non-oily format and can be used solo or under a hydrating moisturizer. Try:Glow by Dr. Brandt Overnight Resurfacing Serum ($85, sephora.com) or Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster ($48, sephora.com)
Apply an Acid or Enzyme Mask for Ten Minutes Twice a Week You need extra exfoliation now when sweat, sunscreen and oily residues accumulate over the already sluggish dead cells that are backing up on the skin's surface. Fruit acids- lactic, citric, glycolic and tartaric - or papain enzyme effectively dissolve dead cells, de-clog pores and eliminate crud your usual makeup remover doesn't get. Your face will look fresh even in direct sunlight, makeup won't grab on flakes or settle in grooves and best of all your skin care treatments can penetrate more effectively. Try Freeman Pineapple Enzyme Mask ($3.99, ulta.com) or Jurlique Fruit Enzyme Exfoliator ($48,sephora.com)
Fade Big Brown Spots or Clusters of Brown Spots at Home or the Dermatologist The method of removal is up to you, but get rid of brown spots that add 10 years to your face. A dermatologist can laser them off in a few sessions or use cryotherapy (a freezing procedure that uses liquid nitrogen to eliminate the discolorations. Both methods destroy the melanin producing cells responsible. At-home lightening creams and serums target discolorations with kojiic acid, niacinamide and/or botanical extracts of licorice extract, arbutin, soy and vitamin C. They do work but take at least one full month before you see a noticeable difference, so keep at it. Of course diligent applications of sunscreen are necessary too to prevent brown spots from returning, so pay attention to rule #1! Try L'Oreal Youth Code Dark Spot Serum Corrector ($19.99, drugstore.com) or Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Tone Correcting Spot Treatment ($17.59, drugstore.com).
Get A Sunny Look, but only with a Gradual Self-Tanner No more salon tanning beds (not even once) or sneaking a bake in here and there. If you prefer a "healthy glow,” fake it. But if you do commit go head to toe and opt for a discreet bump up in skin tone... not a dark tan. You can't mix a pale face and faux tanned legs or vice versa. A gradual self-tanner looks most natural if you stay a shade up from your real skin tone. You may want to apply it every three days or so instead of every day to control the color. A light self-tan can provide subtle camouflage for broken capillaries, under eye circles and brown spots if you don't go overboard and build to a "tan" that's too dark. It makes a good base or substitution for makeup during steamy humid weather when a full face of foundation feels too done. And again don't skip the sunscreen. Apply your faux tan- let it dry and then top it off with your UVA/ UVB SPF. Try Jergens Natural Glow & Protect Moisturizer ($7.99, ulta.com) and Jergens Natural Glow Express Body Moisturizer ($8.99, ulta.com)
About the Author
Lois Joy Johnson is ThirdAge's Beauty and Fashion Director. Her latest book is "The Makeup Wakeup."