Tips to Deal with Sun Damage and Dark Spots

Sun damage is the number one cause of aging. After summer, you may notice freckles, dark spots, or scars that may suddenly be visible. Even with a proper SPF routine, time spent under the sun can take a toll on delicate skin. 

The quicker you tackle sun damage, the easier it will be to resolve it. Learn what causes sun damage, how to prevent it, and how to treat existing problems.

How the Sun Contributes to Early Aging

Skin cancer prevention isn’t the only reason to never skip sunscreen when you’re heading outside. UV radiation is the primary cause of premature skin aging. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging are caused by the sun. 

Is it Possible to Reverse Sun Damage?

Help minimize the look of dark spots, fine lines, and other signs of sun damage. Treatments can include everything from topical creams or gels to chemical peels and laser treatments. While these treatments can’t necessarily reverse the damage done to your skin, they can drastically improve how your skin looks.

Damage Control

The first step in reversing sun damage is preventing further damage. Use this suncare checklist next time you’re heading outdoors.

- Wear sunscreen daily

- Wear hats and sunglasses to protect your eyes and face better

- Look for shade if the sun is harsh

- Try to avoid peak hours (afternoon)

How to Treat Dark Spots

Even the smallest dark spots may grow larger over time. When you’re looking for over-the-counter dark spot treatments, try to find products with retinoids (vitamin A), vitamin C, and antioxidants. 

Check out our top 3 favorite dark spot treatments. 

  1. Potent-C™ Vitamin C Targeted Spot Brightener
    by Peter Thomas Roth

This targeted spot treatment packs a punch of vitamin C to help visibly brighten the skin. This is best for anyone with pesky dark spots on the cheeks, chin, or forehead. 


  1. Facial Treatment Essence (Pitera Essence) by SK-II

This unique skincare treatment can be used in conjunction with other skincare staples. Use it after cleansing and toning and before serums or moisturizers. 


  1. Retinol Anti-Aging Serum by The INKEY List

The INKEY List’s wallet-friendly serum is made with retinol to help smooth out fine lines and give sunspots a healthy dose of skin-lightening ingredients. 


How to Treat More Severe Cases (Melasma)

Melasma causes patches of brown or blue-gray patches, freckle-like spots, or discoloration on the face. 90 percent of people who develop melasma are women. The best treatments for melasma are a little more invasive because melasma affects the deeper, dermal layer of the skin. 

Topical products like prescription-strength retinol, hydroquinone creams, and topical steroids can help prevent further damage and lighten the existing pigment. If these don’t do the trick, chemical peels, dermabrasion, and microdermabrasion are potential alternatives. These treatments actually strip away the top skin layers and may help lighten dark patches.

Use these tips and tricks to dramatically improve the tone and texture of sun-damaged skin. But always remember, you need sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher sunscreen every day to keep your skin happy, healthy, and protected.