How to Prevent Summer Sunspots

Dark spots, age spots, sun spots—no matter what name they go by, these marks can make an appearance on your skin. How to prevent summer sun spots that appear during the hottest months of the year is a big concern for many. 

Sunspots are flat brown spots that develop on areas of your skin that are exposed to the sun. They’re also known as liver spots, though they have nothing to do with your liver. What happens is, spending time out in the sun (without taking adequate protection measures) can lead to sun damage—and this damage can show up on the surface of your skin years down the road as visible signs of aging like sun spots or fine lines and wrinkles. 

So, is there anything you can do to help protect your skin and face from sun spots? And, after you have sun spots, is sun spot removal an option? While keeping the skin even-toned in summer can be a challenge, these skin care tips can make a world of difference. 

Use Broad Spectrum Sunscreen – Daily – 

I know you probably hear this all the time, but exposing your skin to the sun (especially if you should get a tan or sunburn) will bring out sun spots. If you are serious in your quest to prevent summer sun spots, it’s important to know that you have to apply more than you think you need. Protecting your skin from the sun has much more to do with how much you apply than it does to the SPF number listed on the bottle, so you really must load it on. When in doubt, apply more! As for reapplication, when out in the sun or even outdoors on a cloudy day, you should reapply another generous layer every ninety minutes. For quick reapplication during the day, I like to dust on a SPF-infused powder that contains titanium dioxide, one of the active ingredients used in mineral sunscreens. These powder sunscreens are so convenient and easy, plus won’t ruin your makeup!

Try Not To Be in Direct Sun For Long Periods Of Time – 

For years, it was thought that sun spots were just like the name suggests—spots caused by the sun. We now know that the heat given off from the sun will stimulate melanin activity, resulting in discoloration on the skin. This is what causes the actual sun spots. This means that no matter how diligent you are about re-applying sunscreen, wearing a hat and staying in the shade, you still may not be able to avoid pigment from forming. This is particularly true for those of us who live in the southern states where it gets very hot (I live in Austin, TX). Sometimes the heat is just unavoidable. As hard as it may be, try to avoid the direct sunlight during the hottest times of the day (10am-4pm). When outside during those hours try to wear a hat, wear sunglasses (protects delicate skin around eyes), find a shaded umbrella, and keep as cool as you can to avoid sun spots. 

Exfoliate, Exfoliate, Exfoliate – 

As for a lot of skin concerns, exfoliation is also important for preventing sun spots. One of the keys to managing skin discoloration that can easily appear during the hot summer months is to exfoliate regularly. This can be with acids, at-home peels, gentle facial scrubs, or dermaplaning. A great exfoliating masque for summertime is MintPear’s Pumpkin Enzyme Exfoliating Masque. The Pumpkin Enzyme gently exfoliates your skin, helps even the appearance of skin tone, smooth the look of fine lines and wrinkles, and clarify to reveal skin that looks smoother, younger, radiant, and revitalized.

Already have sun spots?

Besides following the tips above to prevent more from showing up, there are ways you can fade their appearance. 

Laser Treatments – 

High-energy pulsing lasers can safely and effectively remove many unwanted brown and red spots on your skin, including liver spots, age spots, sun spots, broken capillaries, birthmarks, and angiomas (red spots). Once the lasers do their job, you can have a more even skin tone.

Microdermabrasion – 

The treatment produces ideal results for reducing the appearance of age spots, brown spots, and dull skin. It may also help reduce the appearance of fine lines and crow’s feet. Unlike dermabrasion, which is safe only for people with fair skin, microdermabrasion works on all skin colors and types.

Chemical Peels –

Certain chemical peels work really well for fading sun spots. Chemical peels work by producing a controlled wound to the treatment area. The acid in a chemical peel essentially burns away sunspots, wrinkles, and other undesirable skin conditions and reveals unblemished skin as it heals.

Not sure which option to go with? Consult your dermatologist, who will be able to better determine which method of addressing sun spots will be best for you and your skin. Doing your own research should never replace visiting a board-certified derm! Unfortunately, sun spots can return, so continued sun protection must occur after treatment of existing sun spots.

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