3 Dermatologist Tips for Reversing Summer Skin Damage

During summer we get exposed to UV radiation for longer periods of time, forgo sunscreen once or twice or skip steps like using serum. All of these factors contribute to the appearance of dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles - signs that can start showing up as early as in your twenties.

With summer coming to an end, there's no better time to start thinking about helping your skin heal and restore the Vitamin A depleted by the sun. Although you can't reverse all damage, there are definitely some steps you can take to revitalize and strengthen your skin’s dynamic boundary. Check out some of the dermatologist-recommended formulas below.

What Is Sun Damage?

The damage to the skin caused by exposure to sunlight and UV light is referred to as photoaging, and is the number one cause of skin aging. 

“Melasma, freckles, actinic keratoses and texture changes are all signs of photoaging damage,” says Dr. Melanie Palm, MD, Medical Director of Art of Skin MD in Solana Beach, California. The type of damage one deals with, however, is unpredictable and dependent on the individual.


Sun damage can appear in many forms, including dry skin, deep wrinkles or thickening of the skin’s texture. Over time UV rays break down the elastin fibers, and the skin begins to sag, stretch, and lose its ability to go back into place after stretching. In addition to accelerating the aging process, UV rays can also have a negative effect on your skin's tone and pigment. 

“Sun damage is a cumulative ongoing process throughout life,” says Manhattan-based dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Hale. “It’s important to protect yourself [to] prevent against future sun damage in the form of pre-cancers and skin cancers.”

How To Repair Your Skin

While you can’t entirely undo the cellular changes caused by UV radiation, you can take steps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, sunspots and sagging skin. Many of the skin care products available in the market promise to repair damaged skin, but only some do properly target the effects of sun damage.

1. Add A Good Serum to Your Skin Repair Regime

Serums have the ability to absorb into and penetrate deeper layers, making way for smoother, firmer skin.

Some serums can help remove dark spots with lightening or brightening ingredients like Vitamin C. However, they generally don't address any cellular damage unless they also contain a high concentrations of active ingredients like retinoids and niacinamide.

Niacinamide, known as Vitamin B3, has been shown to enhance the repair of UV damaged DNA and reduce UV induced immune suppression, a leading cause of skin cancer.

A study from the New England Journal of Medicine found that nonmelanoma skin cancers, such as basal-cell carcinoma and squamous-cell carcinoma, are common cancers that are caused principally by ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Nicotinamide (vitamin B3) has been shown to have protective effects against damage caused by UV radiation and to reduce the rate of new premalignant actinic keratoses.

2. Replenish Your Vitamin A

When it comes to reversing the effects of sun damage, there’s no skin care ingredient as potent as retinoids. Topical retinoids help repair skin cells by promoting the development of new collagen and elastic tissue, as well as evening out pigmentation and smoothing fine wrinkles to give your skin a more youthful appearance.

Studies have found that retinoids stimulate the production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and elastin. They are also an excellent choice for treating hyperpigmentation, as they help to inhibit the process of melanogenesis at multiple points. Retinoids also encourage cell turnover, bringing youthful, evenly pigmented cells to the skin’s surface.


There are some down sides to using retinoids like skin irritation and photo-sensitivity. However, you can overcome these by using plant-based alternatives like Bakuchiol. This ingredient has been proved to significantly reduce photo-damage within 12 weeks of use, without the usual retinol therapy-associated undesirable effects. 

3. Hydrate the Right Way 

Summer exposure to sun, chlorine, and salt water can dry out your skin severely and contribute to the appearance of wrinkles. Moisturizers help improve both the appearance and feel of dry, sun damaged skin by rehydrating the epidermis.

Moisturizers use active ingredients to restore and maintain moisture in the skin. However, not all moisturizers support healthy skin functioning. Look for ones with active ingredients that prompt the skin to manufacture its own natural moisturizing factors.

Niacinamide is one fo these active ingredients. Known to upregulate the skin’s ability to produce profilaggrin, this is the first step in a metabolic pathway that enables your skin to reset its own protective functions.

Niacinamide improves skin barrier functions by increasing epidermal ceramide and other intercellular lipid levels as well as promoting serine palmitoyltransferase upregulation. Furthermore, twice daily application of niacinamide formulation may reduce inflammation, decrease transepidermal water loss and increase stratum corneum thickness.


Although most of us are used to the idea of keeping our skin plumped up and youthful by regularly moisturizing, we should actually be doing the opposite. Getting your skin hooked on a daily dose of surfactants and emulsifiers undermines its ability to adapt to the environment and naturally regulate its own levels of moisture. 

Rather than training it to become dependent on a daily moisturizing regime, Harvard Trained Dermatologist and Pathologist Dr Mark Gray recommends an approach where your skin effectively becomes its own moisturizer.

Check out some of the product recommendations below.


Skincare SOS: Your Summer Recovery Routine  

Peak Strength AM Serum-Shot

This vitamin-rich nutrient shot, boosted with Niacinamide, hydrates, firms and improves skin tone, reducing the appearance of pores and wrinkles. Perfect for undernourished and tired looking skin to revitalize and strengthen the skin’s dynamic boundary. Antioxidants and anti-inflammatories help restore cellular function. 

Buy for $65 USD or save $15 (and get free US delivery) when you purchase it as part of the Dynamic Layer set.

Raw Nourish AM Treatment

This Lo-Mo™ daytime treatment naturally hydrates, brings balance and adds radiance. This high active, low moisture botanical blend that doesn’t just layer on moisture for temporary gain – it naturally supports the skin’s ability to produce and maintain its own hydration. It balances and restores skin back to its native state of health. 

Buy for $65 USD or save $15 (and get free US delivery) when you purchase it as part of the Native Core set. Or try it risk-free with our brand new trial kits - now on sale.

Raw Nurture PM Treatment

An antioxidant and nutrient-rich night blend that hydrates, exfoliates and stimulates collagen production. Repairs, restores and conditions to make skin stronger and more fit. Learn More.

Buy for $75 USD or save $15 (and get free US delivery) when you purchase it as part of the Native Core setOr try it risk-free with our brand new trial kits - now on sale.

Reverse Longitude PM Serum-Shot 

This clean serum formula combines powerful anti-aging ingredients like Retinaldehyde - a stabilized form of retinol for collagen production, with Bakuchiol – a potent antioxidant that boosts Retinal while protecting skin from its irksome side effects.

Buy for $95 USD or save $15 (and get free US delivery) when you purchase it as part of the Dynamic Layer setOr try it risk-free with our brand new trial kits - now on sale.


Ao Skincare's clean, non-toxic, EWG Verified formulas are available from the following stores:

♡ From $45 at www.aoskincare.com/collections/all_products. Get $20 off your first order and free delivery for US orders over $100. Or save even more when you buy products as part of a set - now on sale.
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♡ Or try them risk-free with our brand new trial kits - now on sale at www.aoskincare.com/collections/trial-kits.


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Sources: www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/reverse-sun-damage-skin_l_5cf685cce4b0e8085e4102d2, www.skincancer.org/blog/possible-reverse-sun-damage/, www.vogue.com/article/summer-skin-damage-new-york-dermatologist-elizabeth-hale-retinol-antioxidants-lasers, www.skincancer.org/blog/photoaging-what-you-need-to-know/



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Dr. Mark Gray