SUN SEEKERS: Sun damage can leave uneven skin tone

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SUN DAMAGE: Can leave uneven skin tone. Photo: Shutterstock

AT one time or another most of us have all overdone it a bit in the sun.

Whether forgetting to reapply an SPF, or getting caught out on an unexpectedly sunny day, most people will have been exposed to UV rays whilst unprotected at some point.

While this can have worrying health consequences, sun damage can also cause cosmetic damage in the form of uneven pigmentation and sun spots. Luckily, it is possible to treat this unwanted side effect, as well as preventing further damage.

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This common skin complaint, known as ‘hyperpigmentation,’ is caused by an excess production of melanin-the chemical naturally produced in the body to protect us from UV rays- which occurs when we take too much sun.

These dark spots can occur anywhere, but are most common on the face, chest and hands. Lasers can be an effective way to remove these marks, working to break down the excess pigmentation and leaving an even skin tone.  This can be expensive, however, and is not advisable for all skin tones.

Another option is a chemical peel.  These treatments create a superficial burn, removing several layers of skin and in turn sloughing off hyperpigmentation.  Peels can also help to treat fine lines and wrinkles for the same reason.  If going for a professional-grade peel, make sure to do your research and select a reputable clinic or dermatologist to carry out the procedure.

The strength of chemical peels can vary enormously so talk through with a professional what results you are hoping for and whether there is any downtime afterwards.  Try The Ordinary’s ‘AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution’ (€7), for a 10-minute treatment which will help to even out skin tone.

Another alternative is a treatment applies daily under other skin care products which will work over time to gently exfoliate hyperpigmentation and remove it.  Many large brands offer these products, and can be very effective.  Try Eucerin ‘Even Brighter Concentrate’ (€33.50).  This pack of six tubes use anti-inflammatory and skin-lightening ingredients to remove marks within five weeks.

Finally, make sure you prevent any further damage and don’t undo any progress you do make by wearing a high factor sunscreen with a broad UVA and UVB protection.  While it may seem unnecessary in the winter, UV rays will do damage whether or not the sun seems strong so make sure to use a factor 30 to 50 daily.

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