How to Get Rid of Sun Spots From Summer in 7 Steps

How to Get Rid of Sun Spots

Updated 08/31/21. “Help! I was diligent about sun protection all summer, yet I still see sun spots on my face!” Does this sound familiar? If you’re asking yourself how you can be so good about applying sunscreen, wearing sun-protective clothing, and staying in the shade only to see unwanted discoloration appear on your skin anyway, I have the answer. It’s the heat given off by the sun that causes melanin cells (melanocytes) to produce more pigment in an effort to protect the skin from inflammation. That’s why it’s so important to avoid the heat and the sun.

If your sun spots have already appeared, and you’re looking for a way to minimize their appearance, I have good news—it’s completely possible! You just have to know which products and techniques can help. Keep scrolling to learn 7 ways to get rid of sun spots after summer.

How to Get Rid of Sun Spots in 7 Steps

The goal is to get pigment cells to settle down so that sun spots will fade away and the skin can return to being bright and even-toned once again. While it can eventually lighten up over time, discoloration needs to be addressed with high-powered active ingredients and professional treatments to get it to go away quickly.

1. Act Fast

If you want to minimize the appearance of sun spots, you need to act quickly once they appear. That’s because skin cells have a memory, so the longer they stay put, the longer it may take for them to go away.

2. Discontinue Micro-Needling and The Use of Sonic Cleansing Brushes

This may come as a surprise but consistent, aggressive friction from needles and bristles may prevent melanin cells from settling down. It’s best to put sonic cleansing brushes and at-home micro-needling on hold to avoid an unnecessary inflammatory response. (On that note, read my review of home care devices).

3. Avoid Overheating Your Skin

Since heat can cause melanin cells to produce more pigment, doing anything that can raise the internal temperature of the skin is not a good idea right now. Avoid outdoor exercise, hot yoga, steam rooms, and saunas. Keep a gel-based mask in the refrigerator to apply to your skin if you find it getting red and overheated. Leaving it on for 20 minutes should cool the skin and provide relief. I like the Bio Calm Repair Masque. It infuses cooling hydration deep within the skin.

4. Use Skincare Products With Pigment-Reducing Ingredients

If you’re wondering how to get rid of sun spots at home, here’s what you need to know…I recommend using three specific active ingredients in your skincare routine. First, I recommend using vitamin C, which acts as a melanin disruptor to improve skin tone. I also recommend using retinol, which encourages cellular turnover to bring new, evenly pigmented cells to the surface. Finally, I recommend using exfoliating acids, like glycolic, lactic, malic, and salicylic acid, which help fade pigmentation to reveal a more even-toned complexion.

The Best Morning Skincare Routine to Get Rid of Sun Spots

  1. Start with a mild, sulfate-free gel cleanser, like the Mint Renewal Cleanser. Massage it over your skin, before rinsing well and patting your skin with a towel.
  2. Immediately follow up with an alcohol-free toner. Wipe it over your entire face, leaving it damp.
  3. Immediately follow up with a vitamin C serum (this step is important because vitamin C is excellent for inhibiting melanin cells to encourage the fading of discoloration. For the best results, use a vitamin C serum with tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, which is a stable form of vitamin C that’s known to fade brown spots without causing excess irritation).
  4. Wait 60 seconds before applying a generous layer of sunscreen to block out damaging UV rays and prevent new sun spots from forming.

The Best Evening Skincare Routine to Get Rid of Sun Spots

  1. Start with a lotion-based cleanser to dissolve makeup and debris that has collected on your skin throughout the day.
  2. Immediately follow up with an alcohol-free toner. Wipe it over your entire face, leaving it damp.
  3. Immediately follow up with a gentle exfoliating acid serum for two nights in a row. Look for one that contains glycolic, lactic, or malic acid, which will help dissolve pigmented cells. After two nights (when you’re on night three), swap the exfoliating acid serum for one with retinol. On nights four and five, use the same vitamin C serum from your morning routine. On night six, repeat this routine, starting back with the exfoliating acid serum. Doing this will give your skin a variety of different ingredients that work together to eliminate the unwanted discoloration.
  4. Wait 60 seconds before applying a soothing moisturizer that’s appropriate for your unique skin type.

5. Consult a Dermatologist For a Prescription Skin Bleach, If Necessary

In some cases, a compounded skin bleach may be necessary to remove severe pigmentation. I usually suggest trying my at-home skincare routine for a few weeks before doing this, as the combination of an exfoliating acid serum, vitamin C serum, and retinol serum could work just fine. However, if you do need something more, you can ask your dermatologist about skin bleach. These need to be prescribed by a dermatologist and usually contain up to 4% hydroquinone. The dermatologist can prescribe custom blends from a compound pharmacy. A great example of one from a compound pharmacy is one that uses 8% hydroquinone, 1% kojic acid, and 1% vitamin E. (There are ready-made prescription bleaches, but because compounds are custom, they can really cater to each person’s individual skin type and severity of pigmentation. Note: hydroquinone shouldn’t be used for long periods of time. Be sure to follow the instructions for usage as recommended by your doctor).

6. Get a Professional Chemical Peel or an IPL Treatment

In some cases, at-home creams and serums will only do so much. Sometimes, a professional procedure is needed. My favorite is Bio Brasion (the next generation of microdermabrasion) combined with a chemical peel. (You can see the amazing results from my client, Natalie, who had a bad case of discoloration.) Chemical peels are powerful and can remove deep pigment, but of course, the type of peel that’s needed for each skin type may vary.

Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) is also very popular for targeting sun and heat-induced discoloration, and it can lift the pigment from cells. If you do decide to seek the help of a professional, be sure to get a good referral and seek out someone with a lot of experience performing these types of procedures.

7. Prevent Sun Spots From Returning

Once your skin is back to being more even-toned, don’t slack off with your routine. After all, if you have a tendency for sun spots, they can surely come back. The best way to prevent discoloration from returning is to limit your time in the heat and sun, wear sunscreen faithfully, wear a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors, and continue to use a skincare routine full of vitamin C, exfoliating acids, and retinol (and a prescription skin bleach if necessary). I also recommend wearing makeup every day—yes, really! Wearing either foundation or mineral powder makeup offers a barrier of protection against harmful UV rays. Most types of makeup contain sunscreen, and even if they don’t indicate an SPF number, they have UV-protecting ingredients like titanium dioxide. Because of this, I never leave my skin bare and never suggest that my clients do either (especially those who struggle with hyperpigmentation).

I also suggest getting a skin-brightening facial every six weeks. An esthetician will use professional-strength exfoliating acids as well as vitamin C to ensure the skin stays smooth, glowing, and even-toned. You can also do an at-home chemical peel. I suggest using the Dual Enzyme Softening Peel. It uses papaya and pineapple enzymes to help fade discoloration and brighten the skin. In addition, you can also give your skin a stronger form of exfoliation with this DIY chemical peel using a prescription retinoid.

In conclusion, developing hyperpigmentation on the skin during the summer months can be very common. With the right products and techniques (along with patience), you can get your skin back to its original state in no time. You simply need to put in the time and effort.

Next, learn how to fade post-breakout dark marks!

Disclaimer: Content found on www.ReneeRouleau.com and Blog.ReneeRouleau.com, including text, images, audio, or other formats were created for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website or blog.

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  1. Hi Renee, useful post here. All the tips are looking very helpful in reducing sun spots. Thank you for the post. Very useful for new users.

    Posted By: Yocheved Turner  | 

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