Now that summer’s drawing to an end, days are shorter, UV rays are weaker and tans are fading. It’s also the time when people start to notice uneven skin tone caused by summer fun. But dehydration, dullness and hyper-pigmentation are no fun at all. As your summer glow turns ashy and patchy, follow these recommendations to bring your face and body back to life.
Professional Medi-spa Treatments
If your skin’s in particularly rough shape or if you simply want a professional advantage to quickly get your skin in better condition, look for a qualified esthetician that can offer advanced services. Joy Stewart, from Touch of Joy in Vancouver suggests either Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) or Non-ablative Skin Resurfacing (aka Sublative) to quickly target hyper-pigmentation. These treatments will give you clearer and more even-toned skin, just in time for the holidays!
IPL uses intense pulses of light directed at the epidermis, targeting blood vessels and collagen. This results in reduced wrinkles and redness on the surface as well as the “lifting” of dark spots. Expect a downtime of about one to three weeks - the more brown spots, the longer the downtime. The first five days will be the most dramatic as hyper-pigmentation will become much darker before fading.
Non-ablative is similar in that it treats wrinkles, texture and hyper-pigmentation, but it penetrates deeper into the dermis. This technique triggers your body’s own healing process, prompting it to produce healthy tissue and collagen. The downtime here is less than for IPL, at one to two weeks, so it’s a great choice for those with less time. Stewart is particularly enthusiastic about this treatment and gets it done herself every year.
Over the Counter Treatments
There are fantastic products you can use at home to help improve post-summer skin. ZO Medical is a professional-grade, corrective line designed by Dr. Zein Obagi. Brightenex ($96) is a non-hydroquinone brightener and correcting cream that contains 1.0 percent retinol to brighten skin tone by targeting the three stages of skin discolouration. This is a great one to start off with if you’re just beginning your de-pigmentation regimen.
Brightalive($150) is a non-retinol, non-hydroquinone brightener that targets hyper-pigmentation and sun damage while also preventing new sun spots from developing. It’s about as powerful as a topical can be without the concerns of skin bleaching.
Because these two products are so potent, cautions Joy, they really should be used under the supervision of a trained esthetician. The entire ZO Medical line is available at Touch of Joy.
Other effective options are Vichy’s ProEVEN dark spot correctors, with specific formulations for day ($48.50) and night ($49.50). These serums work on the skin’s surface by gently exfoliating and boosting the cell renewal process and regulating the production of melanin. These are best used together as they complement one another to provide 24 hours of treatment. Available across Canada at drug stores.
To help promote the breakdown of pigmentation as well as to prevent more from forming, a good Vitamin C serum is essential. SkinCeuticals’ C E Ferulic($165) protects against photo-aging by neutralising free radicals that can accelerate photo-damage. Allow the serum to sink in completely (one to three minutes) before adding your moisturiser. Available at select dermatologists, medical spas and online atSkinCeuticals.com/Canada
For skin that’s parched after a season of too much alcohol, sun, salt water and other summer indulgences, pamper your face with Avène's Soothing Moisture Mask ($35). Not only is this a fabulous all-round hydration treatment, but it’s especially formulated to treat sunburned and sun-ravaged skin. As an extra treat, use it once a week as an overnight treatment. Available across Canada at drugstores.
Sun Protection is a Must!
Remember, the end of summer doesn’t mean the end of UV rays. Using sun protection is a must if you’re starting any treatment that targets hyper-pigmentation. UV rays are present even on cloudy days and these treatments leave your skin susceptible to photo damage, so always protect your skin with a minimum of sun protection factor 30.
For the body, Clarins’ new Sun Care Oil Spray SPF 30 ($35) is a fantastic, elegant, fast-absorbing dry oil for the body and hair. Smells divine. Available at Clarins counters. For a little more protection, Bioderma’s lightweight Photoderm Sun Protection Milk SPF 60 ($27.95) provides amazing sun protection without any stickiness or oiliness - a sunscreen you’ll actually enjoy putting on. Available at Shoppers Drug Mart.
Vichy’sIdéal Ultra-light Lotion for Face SPF 30($25) is a new-generation sunscreen with light, watery texture that feels great on the face. Available across Canada in drugstores. And if you’re exercising outdoors, Shiseido’s WetForce Ultra Sun Protection SPF 50+ ($48), is an excellent waterproof and sweat-proof lotion that dries to a beautiful, velvety finish. Available at Shiseido counters.