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The Ritz Carlton Spa Tysons has a Fire & Ice organic facial that restores skin after exposure to sun -- perfect for an end of summer treat to yourself. (Image: Courtesy Ritz-Carlton, Tysons)

How to help your skin recover from the ravages of summer

Sun, surf and heat -- oh my! The summer sun and heat have destroyed my skin! Sure, I slathered on SPF 50, but when you’re playing outdoors, it’s hard to avoid the rays. And I don’t know about you, but sometimes when I travel, I tend to leave my skin products home, especially when they don’t come in small sizes and it’s impossible to squeeze them into those 3 oz. bottles.

Dr. Shirley Olsen, a laser and skin specialist in plastic surgeon Dr. Gregory O. Dick’s office in Rockville, says, “People don’t always realize that the reflection from the water when swimming or boating, or being in a convertible or under a sunroof gives them a lot more sun exposure than they might think. The results are extreme dryness, hyper pigmentation and fine lines.”

So, as we head into fall, it’s just about now that my skin needs a mega dose of TLC. Here are a few tips from area skin specialists (and if over the counter products aren’t working, seek a professional).

Face Forward

Has the heat and humidity made your dull skin cry out for a mega dose of hydration? Well, Ashley Rawley, Spa Esthetician at the Ritz-Carlton Spa Tysons says that you’re not alone. While there is no cookie-cutter answer to what active ingredients should be in your products, Ashley says, “a general rule of thumb for preventative/anti-aging skincare, is to look for ingredients such as Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, and Glycolic or Lactic Acids." Anyone with hormonal and acne-related skin conditions need products with Salicylic, Tea Tree Oil, and Hyaluronic Acid. Besides always cleansing your face in the evening to remove makeup, remember to use your products on your neck and décolleté. A few other Ashley recommendations:

  • Put on Sunscreen 365 days a year, even if it’s cloudy or snowy.
  • Exfoliate one to two times a week; those with oily or acne prone skin should exfoliate even more. Exfoliation removes dead cells and opens pores so products can go to work.
  • Moisturize morning and night, even if you have oily skin.
  • Add a Serum to your morning and evening routine under moisturizers. “Serums and Facial Oils are the true golden ticket for anti-aging skin care. When trying to prevent or correct skin conditions, this is where you’re going to receive your most effective results.”
  • Treat yourself to a facial. The Ritz-Carlton Spa Tysons has the Fire & Ice organic facial that restores skin after hot summer days, giving it just what it needs.

Put Your Right Hand In (and you left hand too)

Christy Peer, an Esthetician at The Plastic Surgery Institute of Washington in North Bethesda, adds, “I do the same thing for my hands as I do for my face.” Her routine also includes a light retinol at night on her face and hands. If the retinol is too irritating, try using it every other night.

The Eyes Have It

Christy notes that the skin around your eyes is very fragile. It’s one of the first places where visible signs of aging begin to emerge. So it’s important to use products day and night. Christy suggests a cream with retinol for night (it comes in different strengths and again, if irritating, maybe not every night) and for day, ones with vitamin C or E to combat free radicals

Out Out Damn Spots

Dr. Olsen says “When you find yourself using too much foundation (which ages you) to cover brown or red spots (spider veins or rosacea), it may be time to have a treatment using Intense Pulse Light (IPL) which removes them. And then you’ll have that blank canvas, beautiful skin.” Christy adds, "IPL, peels, and proper home care with ingredients like Vitamin C, Kojic Acid and proper exfoliation can help reduce the appearance of these "sun spots." She also does a treatment called Dermaplanning, a manual exfoliation technique using a blade to scrape off the top layers of dead skin. As a bonus it also remove the vellus hairs or "peach fuzz" to reveal a smooth and brighter complexion.