Got spots? A true friend won’t let you get away with calling them “freckles,” and we’re totally the real deal. Those dark patches are in fact hyperpigmentation, a sign of sun damage caused by an increase in melanin production, which happens when the skin is trying to protect itself from overexposure to UV rays.
So now that summer’s over, how do you get rid of the resulting spots?
Dermatologists and estheticians might prescribe hydroquinone, a lightening agent that’s super-effective because it suppresses melanin production. But hydroquinone is also a major Big List offender: It’s been linked to cancer and neurotoxicity; it’s toxic to the immune system, a known skin irritant and allergen, an endocrine disruptor, and classified as an air pollutant and pesticide by the EPA.
Oh, and if you stop using it for a minute the spots come back in triplicate.
So what’s a bespeckled gal to do?
Exfoliate. Removing surface layers of damaged skin will lighten dark spots over time, as new skin replaces damaged skin. Try an AHA product like REN’s Resurfacing AHA Concentrate. The potent, yet non-irritating blend of glycolic, lactic, tartaric and citric acids promotes skin-cell turnover, leaving skin looking brighter and smoother while working to lighten those dark spots.
Cover up. Wear a physical (not chemical) SPF every day, even on cloudy, cold, winter days. Yes, every minute counts: You can soak up necessary vitamin D by exposing the rest of your body to the sun, but not your face! COOLA makes fantastic, no-nano, titanium dioxide based sunscreens, with matte formulations available for oily girls, and hydrating for those with dry or sensitive skin. Both are available in a tinted version that we’re obsessed with: Just add a little mineral powder and you’re good to go.
Moral of the story? As tempting as a quick fix for sun spots it may be, do yourself a big favor and skip the hydroquinone in favor of safe-and-effective natural options.