15 Best Products for Sun Damaged Skin to Try Out This Fall

A girl looking herself in the mirror and trying out the best products for sun damaged skin

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Your skin doesn’t look its best after a long, hot summer? Your complexion is a bit dull and you started to notice some sun spots and crow’s feet starting to form? Scroll down and check out what are the best products for sun-damaged skin, that can thoroughly replenish your skin and give you an even, youthful complexion…

    • Even if you have been adamant about your sun protection whole summer long, come fall your skin may start to show some signs of damage;
    • The most common signs of sun-damaged skin include dull, tired-looking complexion, dryness and dehydration, loss of collagen and appearance of aging signs; 
    • Products based on vitamin C, retinol, niacinamide, AHAs and humectants can help you repair and restore your skin.

Though UV rays are always present and can damage your skin all year round, they are especially harmful during the summer when the sun is the hottest and brightest. That is why comes fall a lot of us can notice changes in our complexion caused by extended sun exposure May to September.

There is a reason why dermatologists warn you need to wear an SPF 30+ sunscreen every day. Some of the sun’s negative effects are not visible right away, but in time they sure can lead to wrinkles, fine lines and cow’s feet, brown spots and uneven complexion, loss of collagen and dry, dehydrated, dull-looking skin.

That is why some of the best products for sun-damaged skin are those that contain components that can restore and replenish the skin, inhibit the production of melanin, fade dark spots, even out and brighten the complexion and stimulate the production of collagen and elastin.

So, if you need to repair and restore your skin after all those months out in the sun, here’s what your skincare for sun damage should contain…

The best ingredients in sun damage products:

    1. Vitamin C – One of the best antioxidants that reduces free radical damage, brightens the skin, fades dark spots and helps preserve collagen.
    2. Retinol – The gold standard for a reason, retinol can reduce the existing damage (fine lines and aging spots) by increasing the cell turnover and stimulating collagen production.
    3. Niacinamide – A buzzy ingredient at the moment, niacinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that brightens the skin, fades discolorations and makes the skin supple and youthful.
    4. AHAsGlycolic (or even lactic) acid would be a great choice for sun-damaged skin because they exfoliate the dead, damaged skin cells and that way reduce skin imperfections.
    5. Replenishing ingredients – Since the UV rays dehydrate and dry out the skin, it is always a good idea to replenish it with products rich in humectants and moisturizing agents.

15 Best Products for Sun-Damaged Skin

*All prices mentioned are from August 2023.

If you want a vitamin C product for sun damage, try out…

1. SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic With 15% L-Ascorbic Acid


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Price: $182.00

A good quality vitamin C serum would be a great addition to any skincare routine, but especially if you are trying to reduce the signs of sun damage. You can wear it under your sunscreen for maximum protection, but it would also be able to reverse some of the already existing damage.

This serum combines three powerful antioxidants – vitamins C and E and ferulic acid – that work together to protect your skin against the elements. It visibly reduces fine lines and sun spots, tightens the skin and illuminates the complexion.

2. Vichy LiftActiv Vitamin C Brightening Skin Corrector


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Price: $34.99

A more budget-friendly option would be Vichy’s LiftActiv Vitamin C Serum. It combines the power of 15% vitamin C with one of the best natural humectants – hyaluronic acid.

This serum promises the first results (brighter and smoother skin, fresher looking complexion, reduced fine lines, etc.) in only 10 days of use. It doesn’t contain fragrance or parabens.

3. Obagi Professional-C Serum 15%


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Price: $115.00

Another amazing vitamin C serum that reduces the negative effects of oxidative stress and maintains the skin firm and youthful. It protects the skin from the environmental stressors and prevents the photoaging.

Obagi’s Professional-C Serum comes with 10, 15 and 20% vitamin C, so you can choose the one that would work best for your skin. The 20% vitamin C serum is very powerful and great for persistent signs of sun-damaged skin, while the 10% one would be a good option for you if your skin is sensitive.


If you want a retinol product for sun damage, try out…

4. Murad Retinol Youth Renewal Serum


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Price: $118.00

Of course retinol products would be amongst the best products for sun-damaged skin, as retinol literally encourages the skin to renew itself faster. However, retinol is known to cause skin irritations, which is why it is important that you find a product that is not only efficient but also gentle.

The Retinol Youth Renewal Serum combines a fast-acting retinoid, a time-released retinol and a retinol booster, for maximum effects in only two weeks. It also contains hyaluronic acid, which replenishes the moisture levels in the skin.

5. Olay Regenerist Retinol24 + Peptide Night Face Moisturizer


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Price: $29.99

This fragrance and dye-free moisturizer is packed with skin-loving ingredients that can make some noticeable changes in your complexion. It can help with many skin imperfections, including sun damage, first aging signs, skin brightness, discolorations and large pores.

Olay’s Retinol24 + Peptide contains a powerful combination of retinol, amino peptides and niacinamide. The formula spreads well and gets quickly absorbed into the skin.

6. Sunday Riley Luna Retinol Sleeping Night Oil


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Price: $105.00

Here’s a great product to work for you while you sleep. This retinol night oil promises the first results the very next morning in form of a brighter, more even complexion. In 4 weeks, it significantly reduces the photoaging signs, including fine lines, wrinkles and pores.

Apart from retinol, this product also contains blue tansy and German chamomile essential oils, which soothe the skin and reduce redness. Avocado and chia seed oil are in charge of moisturizing and replenishing the skin.


If you want a niacinamide product for sun damage, try out…

7. Olay Wrinkle Correction Serum with Vitamin B3+ Collagen Peptides


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Price: $29.99

If you need a serum to help you even out your skin tone and help reduce fine lines, give this one a go. It renews the skin and makes it smooth and firmer. It doesn’t contain fragrance, synthetic dye, mineral oil, parabens or phthalates.

Other than brightening, niacinamide also helps the skin retain moisture and improves its overall health and appearance. This serum also contains amino peptides, which encourage the skin’s natural renewal process.

8. Paula’s Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster

Price: $49.00

This serum is a must try if your complexion is uneven and you are hoping to correct skin imperfections such as fine lines, uneven skin texture and large, visible pores. The concentrated formula evens out the complexion and makes it bright and youthful.

Of course, niacinamide is a star ingredient here, with its ability to fade discolorations and restore the youthful appearance of the skin. This serum also contains vitamin C, plus allantoin and licorice extract, which soothe the skin and reduce redness.

9. Bye Bye Dark Spots Niacinamide Serum


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Price: $26.25

Another great niacinamide option for dark spots and uneven tone. It brightens the skin, clarifies the complexion and makes it youthful and healthy looking.

This product combines 4% niacinamide with 1% ethyl vitamin C for noticeable improvement of the overall skin appearance with regular use. It is suitable for all skin types, you can even use it on sensitive skin.


If you want an AHA product for sun damage, try out…

10. NeoStrata Resurface Foaming Glycolic Wash


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Price: $30.00

Of course, a good skincare regimen starts with a good face wash, so why not take the opportunity and use a product that can also help with sun-damaged skin? Glycolic acid gently exfoliates dead skin cells and removes the photo-damaged layer.

This face wash is a great option for aging skin, but also for anyone with oily, acne-prone skin. However, introduce it to your skin slowly and keep in mind that glycolic acid can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, so don’t even think about skipping your sunscreen.

11. Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment


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Price: $85.00

This AHA treatment is based on lactic acid, which exfoliates the dull, dry skin cells and makes the skin smooth and glowing. It noticeably improves skin imperfections such as dark spots, fine lines and uneven skin tone.

You can also use this treatment to unclog your pores and purify the skin. Other than lactic acid, it contains licorice, which brightens the skin, lemongrass (an astringent), as well as arnica and prickly pear extract, which soothe the skin and reduce irritations.

12. Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum


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Price: $134.00

T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum contains several AHAs (glycolic, tartaric, lactic and citric) which gently but thoroughly remove dead skin cells off the skin’s surface. It also contains 1% BHA which sinks into pores to unclog them.

The powerful exfoliating effect is nicely balanced with soothing components, such as raspberry and cactus extract, horse chestnut, virgin marula oil, white tea extract, etc. The result – clear, youthful, even, luminous skin and no irritations.


If you want to replenish your sun-damaged skin, try out…

13. Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum


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Price: $125.00

As we mentioned, sun exposure tends to severely dry out and dehydrate the skin and damage collagen. Especially if your complexion seems dull and lifeless, it would be a good idea to bring back the moisturizing, repairing and soothing elements to it.

Advanced Night Repair Complex is lightweight but super replenishing, thanks to the combination of peptides, hyaluronic acid, fermented extracts and antioxidants it contains. It moisturizes, softens and smooths the skin, adds plumpness and makes the skin look more fresh and well-rested.

14. Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream


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Price: $138.00

This amazing anti-wrinkle moisturizer gives visible results (as in – other people noticed), and it has been clinically proven to improve the hydration of the skin. It reduces the appearance of fine lines in only 2 weeks and improves the firmness and suppleness of the skin.

Whether you need an extra boost of moisture after the drying summer conditions or your skin could use some thorough nourishment on a regular basis, this cream might soon become one of your favorite sun damage products. It is ultra-light but extremely nourishing and moisturizing.

15. Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate


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Price: $56.00

In the end, we cannot round up the list of the best products for sun-damaged skin without mentioning Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate. Many people hesitate to try it out because of the essential oils it contains (a valid concern, especially if your skin is reactive). But, the thousands of positive reviews speak loudly enough.

Midnight Recovery Concentrate is incredibly nourishing and replenishing and you can use it every night or only when your skin seems dry and rough. It contains several carrier oils that can do wonders for your skin, including evening primrose, rosehip and jojoba oil, as well as squalane.

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