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June 4, 2013

Confessions of a Sun Worshipper


Friends, this is what happens within hours of getting an Intense Pulsed Light treatment, aka IPL or laser photo rejuvenation. What you’re seeing in the BEFORE is the melanin the laser found and brought to the surface. Believe it or not, that hefty smattering of coffee grounds across my face is like Christmas morn. Because after about a week they flake off, leaving my skin looking like the AFTER. It’s brilliant. It’s magic. It’s IPL. And I do it every spring so I can go makeup-free minus a bit of bronzer, and every fall to undo the damage that even SPF 50, big sunglasses and an even bigger hat can no longer save me from. They’ve been with me for years, my pet sunspots, lurking under the surface, just waiting to appear when I hit 30. To say I’m ashamed of the bad behavior that led to the demise of my god-given milky white skin would be a gross understatement—namely, hundreds of hours playing tennis, lounging at the beach and baking on the black-tar roof of my college dorm without using protection. Since then, I’ve become an accidental expert on hyperpigmentation. Here’s my plan of attack on loan to all of you:

LEVEL 1: You have a few spots, and don’t want more. Try a Vitamin C serum, which will gradually fade hyperpigmentation, help prevent more from forming, and brighten skin overall.

LEVEL 2:  Your skin is dull and those “freckles” aren’t going away. In fact, they’re appearing in annoying places like your cheeks. Try Microdermabrasion,  which exfoliates the top layers of the dermis using crystals and a suction wand. Results can be seen in as few as one treatment: faded sunspots and acne scars, smoother lines, and that unmistakable red-carpet glow. Microderm is an awesome option in the summer, when light and laser treatments can leave skin sun-sensitive. Go see Heidi at The Beauty Room in Minneapolis, 612-724-4111; $150 with facial, $100 microderm only (series of 3 recommended).

LEVEL 3: You have bigger or patches of sunspots on noticeable places like your cheeks. Time to break out the big guns and get IPL. It’s not only ideal for face, but back, hands and décolleté—anywhere you typically see those telltale signs that you’ve spent far too much time in the sun. Many medispas and dermatologists offer the treatment. I highly recommend The Metropolitan in Edina, 952-228-2230; $299 for a full face (ask about spot treatments only).

Questions, comments, struggling with sun spots of your own? Talk to me. 

  • Elizabeth Dehn
    Born and raised in Minnesota by surprisingly low-maintenance parents, beauty writer and lifestyle editor Elizabeth Dehn (aka Bets) spent her awkward years buying Mood lipstick and whipping up DIY face masks before founding Beauty Bets in 2009.
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