Your Post-Summer Skin Rehab
Fade Brown Spots
Hyperpigmentation occurs when the sun's UV rays trigger the production of melanin (that's the skin's pigment), resulting in dark spots that often pop up on face, hands, and other overexposed areas during the sunny summer months, says Dr. Jessica Wesier, a dermatologist at the New York Dermatology Group.
To fix, look for a lightening agent that will actually help stop any additional melanin production by targeting tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the spots. Vitamin C is the most notable of the bunch, but there's also hydroquinone and licorice root extract. Try using an overnight cream loaded with antioxidants, such as Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial ($48; sephora.com), then follow with a spot-targeting treatment, like Aveeno Active Naturals Targeted Tone Corrector ($11; target.com), concentrating on dark areas, suggests Weiser, before you hit the sack.
If OTC treatments aren't working, check in with your dermatologist about more advanced options, such as the Fraxel laser, which resurfaces the skin, removing and lightening any hyperpigmentation, she adds (Prefer to take the DIY approach to your skin? Try these Make-Your-Own Products for Summer Beauty Bummers.)
Add Moisture Back
That mask-like tightness? Yeah, that's just really dry skin. And even in the warmer months, Dr. Dendy Engelman, of Manhattan Dermatology & Cosmetic Surgery, suggests using a facial oil in place of your moisturizer. "I love oils to hydrate," she says. "They penetrate deeply into the skin and hydrate skin without leaving a greasy feel behind." We're big fans of Jurlique Skin Balancing Face Oil ($50; sephora.com) as it works on multiple skin types.
Another way to boost moisture is to use a serum with hyaulronic aicd, which retains moisture more so than any other synthetic polymer. Add a few drops of Paula's Choice Resist Hyaluronic Acid Booster ($45; paulaschoice.com) to your oil in the morning and evening to reap the baby-soft results.
Soothe Irritation and Redness
Thanks to a cocktail of sweat, outdoor exposures (like chlorine), and skin care products (sorry, sunscreen!), your skin may get irritated or red. For example, sweat can trigger eczema flare-ups in people with sensitive skin, says Dr. Weiser. There's also sun rash, also known as polymorphous light eruption, that occurs when—you guessed it—delicate skin catches too many rays. Try a thicker cream formula that's loaded with ceramides, calendula or rosewater, all ingredients that will calm inflammation, she suggests.
Slather on CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion ($10; amazon.com) before stepping out of the house and carry a spritz bottle of calming toner, such as Glossier Soothing Face Mist ($18; glossier.com). Spray on as frequently as you'd like—the sweet smell is only a bonus. You can temporarily treat eczema flare-ups with a hydrocortisone cream, she adds, but only for a week max. Otherwise, see your derm stat for an appointment and hopefully a prescription cream to alleviate the symptoms. (And while you're at it, adopt these 10 Healthy Skin Habits to Establish in Your 20s.)
Firm Sagging Skin
Loss of elasticity during summer months is common, as sun exposure, environmental conditions, and repeated motions cause our collagen and elastin supplies to be depleted, explains Dr. Engelman. OTC products that have retinols, or prescription retinoids, are very helpful in supporting production of collagen for a smoother, firmer and plumper look and appearance. Look for formulas that are serum- or oil-based, says Dr. Colbert, as they both contain smaller particles capable of penetrating deeper into the skin.
We like Sunday Riley Sleeping Night Oil ($105; sephora.com) as well as Roc Retinol Correxion Deep Wrinkle Serum ($22; skinstore.com). Looking for a bit more lift than what a bottle can provide? Dr. Weiser recommends trying Ultherapy, an in-office treatment, to maintain tightness in the neck, lower face, and decolletage. For pesky wrinkles, Dr. Engelman recommends inquiring about Juvederm, a hyaluronic acid filler that temporarily can correct volume loss in whichever area is of focus.
Fix Flaky Lips
"Lips are one of the most frequently ignored sites for skin care and sun protection," says Dr. Weiser. And since "[your lips] don't contain any melanin, they cannot physically protect themselves from UV rays." What results are usually painful, swollen lips with dry flakes that don't seem to fade.
Your new solution: Poutmud ($39; available at Sephora in September), which comes with both a lip exfoliant (the "Fizzy" side) and a hydrating lip mask (the "Wet" side), which doubles as a really swank lipgloss once those flakes are gone. (Or maybe your lips are feeling dry. Nourish them with these 5 Life-Saving Lip Care Solutions.)