The Plan to Undo Years of Sun Damage

Restore your skin from excess sun damage these expert tips.

Repair and protect your skin, which is your body’s largest organ, from excess sun damage this summer and all year round with these tips from dermatologist Dr. Doris Day and nurse Jaime Otis.

Related: Dr. Oz’s Summer Safety Guide

Curb Old Habits By Starting New Rituals

Gradually quit harmful habits and replace them with activities that offer the same emotional benefits. If you love tanning, try attending a hot yoga class instead that provides a similar warm and relaxing environment that promotes self-confidence and spiritual health. Replace one tanning session with a hot yoga lesson and continue swapping activities each time until you’ve completely cut back on tanning.

Use Retinol Cream Once a Day

Skin cells contain retinoid receptors and using a retinol cream helps regulate and balance skin functions that deteriorate over time due to age and sun damage. Retinoids can help improve your skin texture and reduce dark spots. Dr. Day recommends using prescription-based retinol creams, which are stronger than over-the-counter retinol creams, up to twice a week. For the remaining five days, stick to affordable, over-the-counter retinol creams in your daily skin regimen.

Try a 30-Day Hydroquinone Cream Regimen

Hydroquinone cream is a topical skin-lightening agent that is available over-the-counter or as a 4 percent cream prescription. It is used to treat pigmentation and dark spots that appear on skin after years of sun exposure and tanning. Hydroquinone gets absorbed into skin cells and blocks the pigmentation-forming process in the body. After a 30-day regimen, the FDA recommends a resting period of 90 days to curb any mild burning.

Wear Zinc Sunblock Daily

Last but not least, wear sunscreen that contains zinc every day, even under makeup or on cloudy days. Just like brushing your teeth protects the enamel and bones in your mouth, wearing sunscreen can prevent further sun damage and reduce wrinkle formation, among other advantages.

Watch: Why SPF Makeup May Offer Less Protection Than Sunscreen

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