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Anti-Aging Tips for Summer Skin Damage from Blue Water Spa

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If you embraced the summer with outdoor activities like spending time poolside, at the beach or enjoying nature, you probably caused some unintended damage to your skin – even if you were careful to cover up with SPF and proper clothing. Autumn is the ideal time to repair this damage and restore the health and appearance of your complexion. Read on to review the five most common problems associated with summer skin repair and aging.

Problem 1: Dull skin

After all the sun exposure during the summer months, you’ve accumulated dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.  Since skin might be especially stressed from summer damage, it’s best to go easy on your aging complexion, and head to the spa for a professional microdermabrasion or add a mild scrub to your daily regimen.

Problem 2: Dry skin

Aging skin is more prone to being parched, so when the cool, dry autumn air rolls in, you might find that your complexion is especially thirsty. When looking for new products, try formulas that combine ingredients to address both aging and dryness.

Problem 3: Lines and wrinkles

There’s no question: UV rays worsen the appearance of lines and wrinkles. To make matters worse, the dry, stressed out condition of post-summer skin also makes the existing signs of aging look more apparent. Fall is the key time to address these signs of aging in your skin care routine.

Problem 4: Dark spotsdescribe the image

In addition to lines and wrinkles, the sun also triggers skin discoloration, including freckles, dark spots and blotchiness. In fact, doctors report an increase in this type of sun-induced damage during fall. Also referred to as “hyperpigmentation” or “melasma,” there’s no shortage of treatments that are formulated to brighten and balance skin, but finding a formula that works on your skin type without unwanted side effects can be a challenge.

Problem 5: Redness and inflammation

If you’re convinced that you’re the only one struggling with both acne and aging, think again: Good Housekeeping reports that in 2008, of all the women who visited the doctor concerning acne, more than 25 percent were between the ages of 35 and 60. And since hot and humid weather can trigger acne breakouts and increase problems with rosacea, fall is an important time to treat any blemishes or redness associated with adult acne and rosacea.

Your Skin's New Best Friend, Retinoids

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Your Skin's New Best Friend
Five reasons you probably don't use a retinoid (and why you should consider it)
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Photo: © 2009 Jupiterimages Corporation

1. You have no idea what a retinoid is. The term describes vitamin A derivatives that unclog pores, boost collagen to reduce fine lines, and speed cell turnover to even out discoloration and smooth the skin—sometimes in as little as four weeks. The first retinoid—tretinoin—was FDA approved (under the brand name Retin-A) almost 40 years ago as a prescription acne treatment. Dermatologists soon noticed that patients on Retin-A experienced not just clearer but softer, brighter, less-lined skin. Today there are three prescription-strength retinoids: tretinoin (brands include Atralin, Avita, Retin-A, Retin-A Micro, Renova), tazarotene (Avage, Tazorac), and adapalene (Differin). Many dermatologists find tazarotene stronger (and potentially more irritating) than tretinoin; adapalene is the gentlest but may be less effective.

2. You don't want to go to the dermatologist. While prescription formulas yield the most impressive results, an over-the-counter retinoid, called retinol, can also improve lines and discoloration. Because retinol is gradually converted into retinoic acid (the active ingredient in the prescription creams) it is less potent. Count on 12 weeks before seeing results.

3. You think a retinoid will make your skin sun-sensitive. "This is one of the biggest retinoid myths," says Doris Day, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center (and a Tazorac user herself). "The ingredient itself is sensitive to sunlight, which is why you should apply it before bed at night." A retinoid shouldn't make your skin any more vulnerable to UV rays than it would be after buffing away dead skin with a face scrub. Summer is actually a good time to start a retinoid: Humidity makes your skin less likely to dry out as it adjusts. Of course, apply sunscreen (SPF 30, at least) as diligently as you always do.

4. You're afraid your skin will look worse before it gets better. Retinoids can cause dryness, redness, and flaking—but if you ease in, you can avoid a rough transition. For the first two weeks, apply a retinoid every third night, says Leslie Baumann, MD, director of the Cosmetic Medicine and Research Institute at the University of Miami (who uses Atralin). If your skin isn't irritated, ramp up to every other night for two weeks. Not dry or flaky? Go for it every night. A few other irritation-mitigating guidelines: Wait 15 minutes after washing your face before you apply a retinoid, and use one pea-size dab to cover your whole face. After a few minutes, apply a basic moisturizer to prevent dryness.

5. You think you can't afford it. Insurance coverage of a prescription retinoid, like Retin-A, varies by plan, and a 20-gram tube will cost about $75. But generic tretinoin costs about $40—not bad for a product guaranteed (by decades of science) to work. (For now, only tretinoin is available in a generic version.) Some drugstore retinol products are even less expensive. Look for ones with 0.1 percent retinol packaged in aluminum tubes (to protect the formula from air and light); we like RoC Retinol Correxion Deep WrinkleNight Cream ($22).

Caveat Emptor
  • Don't use a retinoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Benzoyl peroxide and alpha hydroxy acids may deactivate retinoids, so don't layer them.
  • Waxing can cause excess redness on retinoid-treated skin; don't use a retinoid for several days before a treatment.
  • A small percentage of people with ultrasensitive skin can never tolerate a retinoid; if you're one of them, use a gentle physical exfoliator twice a week to soften your skin, and be extra-conscientious about sunscreen to prevent collagen loss in the first place.
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