As fall sets in, you notice that your skin and hair have gone from sun-kissed to sun-stressed. “When a patient comes to me in September, the most common complaints are brown spots, broken capillaries and fine lines,” says Rebecca Fitzgerald, M.D., a Los Angeles dermatologist.
And while a season of sun, sea and chlorine has left your skin dehydrated and blotchy, your hair is likely to look fried and lifeless. “Hair needs extra TLC at the end of summer,” says Los Angeles hairstylist Rebecca DuMoulin, “especially if it’s color treated.”
Here are the top fixes for summer’s beauty blunders; some you can do on your own and others with a little help from the pros.
How to Get Your Glow Back
Your dermatologist can help erase sun damage by literally shining a light on the problem. Intense pulsed light treatments (also known as IPL, Fotofacial or Photofacial) deliver high-intensity bursts of light to areas of pigment that don’t match your regular skin tone, such as red, tan and brown spots as well as tiny broken capillaries.
The melanin in those areas absorbs the light, and over the next few days, the spots darken and then flake off, replaced by new even-toned skin tissue. (IPL, however, may be less effective on skin that already contains a lot of pigment, so women with darker skin tones should discuss with their dermatologist whether the treatment is right for them.)
Another option your doctor may suggest is a light chemical peel that uses salicylic or glycolic acid to exfoliate the top layers of skin, helping to slough away discoloration, fine wrinkles and coarse texture.
Besides, your doctor may also write a prescription for a topical retinoid – a vitamin A derivative – that smoothes the skin and evens out discoloration by speeding cell turnover. “The only caveat with retinoids is that the gain is long haul and not overnight. Give them a few months,” advises Fitzgerald.
Skin Fixes From the Drugstore
Over-the-counter retinoids are lower in strength than their prescription sisters, but still highly effective. Look for the word “retinol” on the product’s label. And while nonprescription retinoids are less likely than prescription formulas to irritate your skin, they can still cause dryness, so start by using your new cream every other night.
And for those of you who truly want to dive into an effective retinoid therapy for the skin, check out my detailed post.
Other great drugstore ingredients to look for are AHA’s (alpha hydroxy acids, commonly listed as glycolic or salicylic on the ingredients list). Like the chemical peels you’d receive in a doctor’s office, these products work to exfoliate the top damaged layers of skin.
Moisture and Shine Repair for Hair
“End-of-summer hair looks dry because the cuticle on the hair shaft isn’t lying flat, causing strands to lose moisture and gloss,” says DuMoulin. A trim at a salon is the only way to get rid of split or ragged ends, but there are also deep-conditioning treatments available that help the scalp and flood your hair with moisturizers.
These deep-conditioning treatments smooth the scale-like cells of the cuticle, instantly boosting shine. At home, switch to moisturizing conditioners and fake shine with a silicone spray. Silicone gives hair an instant gloss and tames flyaways while you are babying your hair back from summer damage.
What you need to remember is to take care of your scalp! Especially if you live in the warm climate and have sun exposure year round. Check out scalp care tips for every season and health reasons with an amazing collection of UV hair protection products.
Reversing Hair’s Brassiness and Blahs
After months of sun exposure, hair that has been colored often looks brassy and dull. “Women who color their hair dark brown or red suffer the most because these colors really fade in the sun,” says DuMoulin
A toner can help add some extra depth to your hue. While blondes don’t suffer from fading in the summer, too much sun “and their hair looks one-dimensional,” says DuMoulin. One solution is to add some lowlights to give your light tresses more depth.
If you are curious about hair color trends, peak into the post I wrote.
And for those women who color their hair regularly, check out why choosing organic hair coloring products could be a more effective and much healthier option.
29 thoughts on “Post-Summer Skin and Hair Rehab”
Thanks for the tips my hair really needs help these days. Did not realize the damage sun has on it.
My skin is so oily right now from summer humidity! I definitely will need repair!
Yes, getting older now and would love to have a light skin chemical peel, but really can’t afford it. I’ll take your suggestions to the drugstore. I really didn’t think about a diy skin peel. Thanks for the info!
Great tips!! I have straight hair with no volume maybe this tips can help me out.
Great tips! I just started using AHA cream again.
I know after summer time activities my hair is always in need of repair. Swimming and being in the sun is very hard on it. Great tips thank you.
GROAN!!!! I am not ready for the post-summer fall conversation yet. Ready for back to school and a return to routine, but not ready for fall!!!! Thanks for the tips, though. 🙂
I agree! there are so many good and frugal finds at cvs, walgreens, etc. I love the pantene beautiful lengths mask and Neutrogena wrinkle repair for face.
My hair needs a summer intervention. Going to have to try using a Shine product for some extra help.
My hair is so dry from split ends and the pool. I definitely need rehab for my hair!
I will definitely have to keep this in mind. This summer has been brutal on my skin especially.
Going to make an appointment for the salon this weekend to get those dead frizzed ends chopped off-hopefully that will bring some life back into my hair–thanks for all these great tips! appreciate them
My hair takes a ton of abuse during the summer. I am always in the pool and outside so these are great tips!
I always have frizzy hair in humidity. Thanks for these tips! I think that not always using product is a great way to keep your hair healthy!
It’s always very important that we give extra attention to our skin and hair, even if it weren’t summer. I try to get a regular hair treatment because I live in a tropical country so the weather is pretty much like summer most of the time. I enjoyed reading this post because I learned something from it. The AHA part was something new for me.
It’s always very important to take care of our skin and hair, even if it weren’t summer. I get a regular treatment. It helps keep my hair moisturized – I live in a tropical country so my hair will always need a little help. I enjoyed reading your post, it’s very informative. The AHAs part was something new to me.
Those are some great tips. I try to stay away from styling tools in the summer.
I know that my skin is super oily in the summer time. I get hot very easily and it makes me sweat a bunch. Then I start breaking out. I only treat the pimples once they have surfaced.
The sun’s heat can really damage your skin and hair. This products can really help treat the damage.
I just noticed a dark spot near my eye the other day! Thanks for all of the tips because I’m going to be on the lookout when I run to the drugstore or Target for a retinol product of some sort.
My hair is getting pretty dull after all the summer sun and pool water. Interesting ideas here.
My hair is in total need of rehab, that is for sure. I have been trying different conditioners, etc.
I always get a hair cut at the end of the summer for this very reason!
Thanks for sharing. I think I could use some conditioning treatments for my hair.
I do not know about all this.. i will show it to my wife and see if she needs it.. thanks for the info!
I never heard of light pulses being used to get rid of brown spots. This just might get me to a dermatologist which I should probably do anyway since I have never been.
uh….so wrote this? Maria? Rebecca? Laura?? Or was Maria a guest blogger? I’m so confused….
Due care should be taken for hair these day.. with increase in unhealthy habbits it’s a must care.
Interesting. My hair always looks frazzled at the end of the summer, but I always thought that was because of the intense sun and humidity. I never thought about getting a trim or going to the salon to treat it – I just thought it was one of those things you had to live with. I might go get a haircut now!