Summer is great for a lot of things, but our skin isn’t necessarily one of them. If you enjoyed the sunshine a little too much, now is the ideal time to hit reset. We asked three experts what fall skin care treatments they recommend to help repair skin damage and prevent premature aging.
Summer Skin Sitch: Sun Spots
“One condition that people develop during the summer is a preponderance of sun spots,” says Tony Youn, MD, a plastic surgeon in Troy, MI and the author of several books including The Age Fix: A Leading Plastic Surgeon Reveals How To Really Look Ten Years Younger. “Spending so much time in the sun can leave you with unwanted freckles and blemishes. It’s most often an issue on the face, neck, and chest, but can also be problematic on other parts of the body.”
Fail-Safe fall fix: Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments with the ZO hydroquinone system – Melamix, Melamin, and 0.5% tretinoin. “This combination of inside/outside treatments can really get rid of the sunspots quickly and effectively,” says Dr. Youn. Another winner is ZO® Medical Brightenex™ 0.5% Retinol. “This can brighten dull skin and also minimize the appearance of skin discoloration, pores, and dark spots rapidly.”
Summer Skin Sitch: UV Rays
You are probably totally on the ball when it comes to your kids, but when it comes to applying the right sunscreen on yourself, well, that’s a different story altogether. Most of us use about half of the amount we really should be slathering on, Dr. Youn says. Follow the ‘teaspoon rule’ and apply one half a teaspoon of SPF to cover your face and a shot-glass full for your whole body.
Fail-safe fall fix: “It’s never too late to reverse bad habits. The best thing you can do for your skin in the winter, spring, summer or fall is to use broad spectrum sun protection. Choose and use a moisturizer with sunscreen to keep skin dewy and fresh all year round,” says Steven Fagien, MD, an oculoplastic surgeon in Boca Raton, FL. “Fall is the perfect time to get your skin ready for the even harsher winter weather. Another thing to remember is to reapply at least once during the day if you are going to be in direct sunlight.”
Summer Skin Sitch: Dehydration
The sun really dries out your skin, and so can too much alcohol and too little water, Fagien says. “Dehydration is especially tough on the delicate skin around the eyelid area.”
Fail-safe fall fix: “Rehydrate your skin with a gentle moisturizer that causes no irritation and doesn’t have an odor that offends you or anyone you love,” Dr. Fagien suggests. “It’s not about how expensive it is, it’s about choosing one that you will use consistently every day. The best time to apply lotion is right after you’ve dried off from the shower or bath, while the skin is still slightly damp. And don’t forget your lips.”
Sometimes skin is so dry that we need the bigger guns, Dr. Fagien says. “We typically think of fillers as a means to get rid of deep wrinkles and folds, but they can also give skin a needed boost. When you inject a filler like Restylane Silk (Galderma) more superficially, it bring waters to the area and increases elasticity of the skin,” Dr. Fagien says. The result? Supple, youthful skin that glows from the inside out.
Drinking less alcohol and more water can help, but eating more foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (nuts, olives and avocados) restores moisture too, says Dr. Youn. “Colorful fruits and veggies are also loaded with antioxidants and water to help fight aging and hydrate the skin.”
Summer Skin Sitch: Fatigue
Our skin takes a beating all summer long from chlorine, salt water, sweat, sunscreen and heat. Just like you change your wardrobe over with the start of each season, you should also do the same for skin.
Fail-safe fall fix: “If you really want to kick-start skin renewal, you have to go for a chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or a treatment with Sciton’s HALO Hybrid Laser,” says New York City plastic surgeon Dr. Mark Schwartz.
HALO offers fractional ablative results with nonablative downtime by applying both wavelengths in a single pass. Ablative lasers destroy the outermost layers of dead and damaged skin, while non-ablative lasers harmlessly heat the deeper tissues, stimulating collagen, one of the building blocks of youthful and elastic skin. “It’s a very versatile laser and can be a complete refresher for your face, chest or décolleté,” says Dr. Schwartz.
The number of treatments required depends on skin quality and severity of any skin issues. “If you have really fine lines, one treatment and you are done, and the benefits can last for years with adequate sun protection,” he explains. “But if we are dealing with severe sun damage and blemishes, we may need one more aggressive treatment and another session in a few months.”
Bonus: HALO can also help the actives in your skin care products get where they are needed most. “Penetration of topical agents is greater since we get rid of the skin’s upper layers with this treatment. We don’t want to use products when the skin is just ablated though, so wait until you’ve started healing.” Dr. Schwartz’s Rx: “Wait a day or two when the channels are still open but the skin is not irritated, and maintain daily use of a broad spectrum SPF30+ for the long term to maximize the benefits of the treatment.”