Out, spot!

In honor of Summer Solstice, let’s discuss one of many unfortunate side effects caused by basking in the warmth of the sun: sun spots!
Dark spots, sun spots, hyperpigmentation … whatever you want to call the issue, an uneven complexion makes you look older in the same way wrinkles do (ick).

flickr user Editor B.

And products for hyperpigmentation are everywhere these days. But really, how does one deal?
Well, there are a few things you can do:
1. Wear sunscreen every day. My favorite piece of beauty advice never gets old! Wearing a high SPF every day really is the best way to keep sun spots from popping up. (This goes for everyone but takes on a heightened importance for those using any kind of retinoid or hydroquinone.)
2. Up your intake of healthy fats, says my esthetician! Yup. Apparently, eating foods like salmon, avocados, and almonds will help your skin to defend itself against the sun, thereby decreasing your risk for sun damage and discoloration. Go ahead, put some guacamole on those tacos!
3. Use an antioxidant product every day. This one’s a double whammy—not only do antioxidants like vitamin C work together with your SPF to protect your skin … they can have a lightening effect on sun spots to boot. I favor products with 15% L-ascorbic acid for this task.
4. Invest in a product with hydroquinone. Most dermatologists agree: it’s incredibly effective at fading existing sun spots. Be careful, though: it can be irritating. Use a hydroquinone product as a spot treatment only, and be sure to moisturize accordingly.
5. Ask your dermatologist about a chemical peel or IPL (intense pulsed light) facial. This recommendation is key for women over 30—a professional treatment can make a dramatic difference in how old you look. I get a heavy duty chemical peel once a year now.

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