Is your tan of yesteryear turning into the wrinkles and age spots of today? You don't have to live with it, and you certainly don't have to pay thousands of dollars for a plastic surgeon to undo the damage. These four easy steps will rejuvenate and revitalize your skin - taking years of sun and other damage off your face. The best news is, all these steps are affordable and available without a doctor's appointment.
Step 1: Use a Chemical Peel
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You've likely seen these super exfoliators advertised on TV and on the Internet. It may surprise you to learn that the effects of these products aren't greatly exaggerated in advertisements. Once restricted to use by licensed dermatologists and plastic surgeons, these chemical peels are now available over the counter directly to consumers. You may need to repeat the treatments a few times to get the results you want, depending on the extent of sun damage you have. But over time, and without going under the knife, your skin can look years younger. These peels can also alleviate the effects of most forms of acne. Use only as directed.
Step 2: Use a Skin Lightener
Image via Flickr by Joe M Photo
One of the most noticeable signs of skin damage from the sun are those dark spots. Skin bleach (which really isn't a bleach, so don't try your household cleaners) and lighteners, such as those offered by Proactiv, are quite effective for lightening and even eliminating the dark spots. These lightners stop the abnormal production of melanin, the pigment in the skin responsible for color. Once melanin production is normalized, the skin can return to its even, natural color.
Step 3: Get Antioxidants From Food and Products
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Antioxidants are touted for everything from warding off colds and flu to helping prevent cancer - and yes, they're essential for revitalizing sun damaged skin, too. Antioxidants neutralize what doctors call free radicals, which damage our DNA and cause wrinkles, cancer and many other ailments. Vitamin A, C and E are essential for repairing and protecting the skin's DNA. Other things to look for in foods, many of which are also available in some skin care products, include retnoids, hydroquinone, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs), salicylic acid, peptides, soy and green tea.
Step 4: Prevent Further Damage
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The first three steps are only effective if you don't incur more damage from the sun. In fact, if you are exposed to direct sunlight frequently after a chemical peel you can end up with more damage than if you left your skin untreated. Make sunscreen a regular part of your skin care regimen.
This is easier to do than ever before with cosmetics containing SPF 15 or greater, easy to use sprays, non-greasy creams and lotions and handy containers that easily fit in pockets, on key rings or in a briefcase. Apply it every morning, even if your only sun exposure is the drive to work. Think you can't get enough sun to damage your skin through the car window? 52% of deadly skin cancers in the U.S. are on the left side of the body, where most drivers get sunlight through the car window.
Gone are the days when plastic surgeons were the only ones with a magical fountain of youth. With today's innovations, we can all have young-looking skin without a hefty price tag.
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