Summer is officially here, and while you may already be soaking up some vitamin D, that time spent enjoying the great outdoors may turn your skin into a hot mess. And if brown spots have your skin looking like your freckles went haywire, you're not alone. Hyperpigmentation is a skin condition that doesn't discriminate—and for some, no matter what you do or don't do to your skin, it can feel like dark spots on your face are an inevitable part of enjoying time outdoors.
Caused by excessive production of melanin (your skin's natural pigment), hyperpigmentation can be triggered by inflammation caused by acne, eczema, aggressive skin-care products, genetics, sunlight, and even certain medications. And although prescription medications (e.g. hydroquinone) are often used to treat hyperpigmentation, wearing sunscreen all the time—yes, even when you're staying indoors—can help prevent and reduce further discoloration of the skin. So if that summer sun has your skin seeing spots, here are three things you need in your summer skincare tool box that can help.
- Don’t Forget the Sunscreen: Wearing sunscreen every day (a minimum of SPF 30) is an absolute must if you are hoping to prevent brown spots. And make sure you don’t skimp on the sunscreen application. You’ll need at least a nickel-sized dollop to cover your face alone, and then reapply every two hours. If you really want to reap the benefits, combine regular sunscreen use with other sun protection strategies such as seeking shade when you can, and wearing sun protective clothing such as hats and sunglasses.
- Do add a vitamin C Serum to Your Routine: vitamin C is known to reduce the appearance of dark spots and uneven skin tone. Modern vitamin C formulas are often designed for all skin types; more and more feature vitamin c esters/derivatives as opposed to the active form of vitamin C which is L-ascorbic acid. This pure, active form is very unstable and sensitive to light, air, etc and can also be irritating to more sensitive skin types.
- Do repair the skin with an alpha hydroxy acid/exfoliating acid such as glycolic acid. Glycolic peels can give the appearance of improved skin tone and evenness, and also potentially suppress the production of melanin which may help in reducing dark spots. Best when used 1-3 times a week on the face and neck followed by a hydrating serum and a good emollient moisturizer if you have dry skin.