Years of sun-worshipping may have turned you into a golden goddess, but damage due to increased melanin production can lead to sunspots, freckles and blotchy skin, especially on your chest. “Sunspots are lesions (they’re typically brown) that develop with age and long-term sun exposure,” explains Norwalk, CT, dermatologist Deanne Mraz Robinson, MD. But you don’t have to live with a spotty décolleté forever, as these fixes can reduce the spots and restore your natural glow.
Prevent further damage with a sunscreen that brightens skin.
According to San Diego plastic surgeon Larry Pollack, MD, the best way to treat existing sunspots is by protecting your skin from the sun’s harmful rays. “Superficial sunspots can be treated best with preventive measures, including good sunscreensand protective clothing.” Hampton Sun Age-Defying SPF 50 Mineral Crème ($52) combines natural fruit extracts, like grapefruit, lemon, tangerine and orange, with antioxidants to correct uneven skin tone while protecting delicate skin from further damage.
Lighten dark spots with a blend of natural bleaching agents.
To reduce the look of sunspots, hydroquinone, which inhibits melanin production, may be prescribed by your doctor. While effective, there are hydroquinone-free options that are helpful in lightening dark spots, too. Good nonhydroquinone-based lighteners include arbutin, niacinamide (vitamin B3) and kojic acid. SkinMedica Lytera 2.0 Pigment Correcting Serum ($154) is free of hydroquinone and relies on a marine extract blend and niacinamide to lighten spots without irritation.
Exfoliate away rough, discolored skin and increase cell turnover.
In-office chemical peels and exfoliating treatments work to remove the top layer of dead skin to erase sunspots. “Acid peels, like a trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peel, are effective in reducing pigmentation and improving skin tone,” says Dr. Pollack. At-home peels and exfoliators aren’t as strong, but can lighten sunspots, too. Inspired by in-office microdermabrasion, Juice Beauty Stem Cellular Resurfacing Micro-Exfoliant ($55) contains grapeseed extract microparticles that refresh and renew darkened skin.
Improve skin luminosity with a brightening cream.
Much of the sun’s damage is due to oxidative stress that accelerates the skin’s aging process, resulting in wrinkles, sunspots, loss of elasticity and dull, dry skin. In addition to increased melanin production, UV exposure also causes the collagen and elastin in the deeper layers of the skin to break down, giving it less support. Formulated with vitamin E and rose otto oil, EVE LOM Brightening Cream ($110) helps speed up the rate of repair, increase skin elasticity and diminish dullness and discoloration.
Target stubborn sunspots with a skin-rejuvenation treatment.
In-office light-based and laser treatments work wonders at targeting spots and improving skin tone. According to Baton Rouge, LA, dermatologist Ann Zedlitz, MD, an Intense Pulse Light (IPL) or Broadband Light (BBL), treatment can remove bothersome spots on your chest. “The light energy delivered by the BBL (used on the patient here) heats up the skin’s upper layers, stimulating skin cells to generate new collagen, which helps restore youthful skin by eliminating pigment, sunspots and broken blood vessels that cause redness.”