When we were younger, the only thing we did to take care of our skin in the sun was to apply baby oil and make sure we tan the fronts and backs of our bodies evenly. What we know now about damaging UVA and UVB rays make us cringe to think about our younger selves’ skin care habits! So what do you do if you’ve been out in the sun all summer or out in the sun your whole life, and you’ve been lax about sun protection? There are a few things to help reverse sun damage and protect against future damage.

  1. Eat antioxidant-rich foods – Did you know that certain foods can help the skin rejuvenate and repair itself? Foods like cherries, crimini mushrooms and green tea contain large amounts of antioxidants like melatonin, Vitamin C and selenium to repair sunburned skin, fight damaging compounds and inflammation and stimulate new collagen.
  2. Try a DNA-repairing sunscreen – There’s a host of skin care products that purportedly repair broken DNA including brands Neova and DNA EGF Renewal. Some studies have shown that DNA-repairing enzymes in lotions and creams can revitalize skin, reverse sun damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer.
  3. Get regular peels at a dermatologist office or spa, or do at-home peels. These acid peels slough off the top layer of skin to reduce brown spots, hyperpigmentation and roughness due to sun exposure. The most common are the alpha hydroxy acids, like glycolic or lactic acid that reach beneath the surface to rejuvenate skin.
  4. Always, always apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen, not only to your face, but to any other exposed skin before you leave the house. The neck, décolletage, arms and hands all require coverage. This will prevent future damage. And remember, no more baby oil!