Post-Summer Skin Recovery
As we head toward the end of September, and fall is about to formally settle in, it’s nice to spend a moment or two remembering summer fun and glimpsing at photos from our slightly over-documented vacation trips and holiday barbeques. Those late summer photos, however, may also reveal signs of accumulated skin damage from environmental exposure. That’s because even the best sunscreen products, even when faithfully applied, don’t give us 100% protection from the sun and other environmental assailants. Adding a little extra time to your fall skincare routine is a great way to catch up on some of the “deferred maintenance” that can make your skin look older than it should. Typical post-summer skin issues include dark spots, dryness, dullness and more pronounced lines and wrinkles.
The good news is that you can easily adjust your daily skincare routine to address these issues. My first recommendation, and one that will improve every one of your post-summer concerns, is to carefully boost the frequency and intensity of your exfoliation. I add “carefully” as a word of caution because you need to give your skin time to adjust to the new routine. If your skin remains red and irritated for hours after exfoliation, you have exceeded your skin’s tolerance. I find that using a cleanser with Alpha Hydroxy Acids and Beta Hydroxy Acids a few times a week is well tolerated by all but the most sensitive skin types.
Increased exfoliation makes it easier to rehydrate your skin. It removes a dulling layer of dead skin cells that may also contain darkened cells from sun and age spots, and it reduces the depth of fine lines and wrinkles. You may also consider adding a weekly home peel to really boost your results.
If dark spots are a persistent problem, the gold standard for treatment is a serum with 2% Hydroquinone. This is an FDA-approved active agent that works within your skin to stop melanin production at the source—the melanocytes, specialized cells that produce pigment. To restore radiance, look for serums that are rich in Vitamin C. Topical infusions of this essential Vitamin C can make a dramatic difference in both skin’s radiance and firmness.
To complete your fall skincare correct-and-protect routine, and your routine every day of the year, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30. Use it regardless of the weather, and reapply it frequently. While this may sound like the most basic advice, the percentage of people who use sun protection every day is shockingly low. Even among those who do, many fail to apply enough product and most fail to reapply. I hope you enjoy a beautiful fall with youthful, good health and great skin.