Treatments & products for sun damage

Dark spots – those pesky things that appear after too much exposure to the sun – aren’t particularly attractive, especially when they are on your face. But is there any way of getting rid of them? Stylish Spy investigates.


Microdermabrasion is a cosmetic medi-spa procedure that uses two things: an exfoliating material (such as tiny crystals or flakes) and a mechanical suction to gently lift away dead skin cells. This is not to be confused with dermabrasion, which is medical skin planing that’s only carried out by a doctor or plastic surgeon. Several sessions will be required to make those dark spots disappear completely, but they will go.
Try it at: Utopia Spa at Rowhill Grange, Kent

Chemical peels

Chemical peels rely on glycolic, salicylic and lactic acids to remove the upper layers of dead cells and reveal new skin underneath. Over time these treatments can stimulate collagen production, enhance cellular turnover and reduce the appearance of dark spots. While at-home peels are becoming more readily available (and are far cheaper), they are more likely to slough off dead skin rather than get deep enough to lighten dark spots.
Try it at: Champneys Mottram Hall, Cheshire

Dermalux LED Light Therapy

Used to combat medical and cosmetic conditions in the face and body, Dermalux LED is a machine that delivers rays of light directly onto the skin. Different colours are emitted from the device depending on the level of charge used - your therapist will set the machine to blue to destroy the bacteria that causes acne, to red to fight ageing, to infra-red to zap dark spots, and to pink for long-lasting results. Several sessions are recommended for best results.
Try it at: The Spa at The Mandarin Oriental, London


OSKIA Renaissance Brightlight Hyper-pigmentation & Dark Spot Serum
(30ml, £94)

Key ingredients:
Iron, magnesium, Zinc, Hyaluronic Acid, passion fruit and grape extract.

First impressions:
This serum comes in a white box with the OSKIA London logo on the front, and the ingredients and directions for use on the back. Open the box to reveal a glass bottle with a white pipette top; the liquid inside is a jolly shade of orange.

What’s it like?
Use the pipette to draw a few drops of the liquid up before squeezing it directly onto cleansed skin, or onto your hand for more targeted application. The consistency is sufficiently viscous to go a long way but not so thin that it runs down your face. The scent is fresh and zingy.

Does it work?
I added this serum into my morning and evening routine for several weeks – using the dropper tool to apply plenty of the bright liquid to areas of sun damage, particularly around my nose. After three weeks, I had hardly made a dent in the 30ml bottle.

This serum is easy to add to your daily routine; in time, I found that my dark spots became less obvious. Looking so closely at sun damage in this way encouraged me us to invest in a daily SPF moisturiser to prevent further hyper-pigmentation. 

Million Dollar Facial Medi+ Radiate 20 Serum
(30ml, £27)

Key ingredients:
High strength vitamin C (20%), ferulic acid.

First impressions:
This serum comes in a slim black box with the Million Dollar Facial logo on the front and all the useful stuff on the back. Open the box to reveal the product which has a white pump lid.

What’s it like?
Pump the lid several times to allow some of the amber liquid to sit on your finger before smoothing it onto your skin. The instructions suggest daily rather than bi-daily use, so I used it before bed to allow the skincare elves to work their night-time magic. The smell is more medical than it is floral or zesty,which is what we have come to expect from products in their Medi+ range.

Does it work?
After drops of liquid escaped the pipette and ran down to my chin, I opted to put it on my finger-tips and go in again if needed, applying more around my nose where brown spots appeared a few years’ ago. 

After weeks of use, areas of sun damage did appear lighter and less pronounced. Combine it with Million Dollar Facial’s tinted SPF moisturiser for a double whammy of sun damage zapping and prevention. Take that pigmentation...

ishga Balancing Marine Cream
(50ml, £60)

Key ingredients:
ishga seaweed, shea butter, bergamot, sandalwood and patchouli.

First impressions:
This product comes in a small white box with ishga’s statement drawing of purple seaweed on the front and instructions for use on the back. The cream itself comes in a round glass pot with an attractive silver screw-off lid.

What’s it like?
Rich, super-indulgent and a little like putting softened butter on your face... With dry skin, I rarely get break-outs, but this thick consistency had me worried; I needn’t have been. The non-greasy formula glides on easily and sinks in quickly leaving no surface residue.

Does it works?
I applied this cream to clean skin every morning during the winter months and rarely felt a dry patch/saw any redness from harsh weather conditions. The silky substance also doubles up as a night cream, nourishing while you sleep.

With its natural ingredients, this balancing cream is probably a little out of its league when it comes to giving brown spots and other sun damage the heave-ho, but it works day and night to even out skin tone, protect and moisturise.


  • Author

    Stylish Spy

  • Age 40-something
  • Skin type Sensitive

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