2 ways to repair skin

The Doctors | 5/11/2013, 8 p.m.

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Cancer, of course, is the most serious consequence of excess sunbathing, but it's not the only one: With repeated exposure to the sun and its ultraviolet rays, skin loses its ability to repair itself. Result: more fine lines, wrinkles and sun spots.

The good news: You can repair -- even reverse -- skin damage from the sun. So first slather on sunscreen to prevent more damage, and then take these steps:

Exfoliate. The list of reasons is long: It removes dead skin and reduces fine lines; it helps detoxify, brighten and smooth; and it allows moisturizers and anti-aging serums to work better. Loofahs, scrubs or alpha hydroxy acid cleansers do the job at home; you can also ask your dermatologist about microdermabrasion, a procedure to treat age spots and shallow wrinkles. Deeper-penetrating procedures -- such as dermabrasion and chemical peels -- are options at the doctor's office. Important note: Exfoliating makes your skin even more vulnerable, so take precautions before going outdoors.

Use A, C, E. These antioxidant-packed vitamins fight sun damage, particularly when they're in skin products. Vitamin A derivatives (retinoids, especially prescription tretinoin and tazarotene creams) help reduce fine lines, age spots and rough skin. Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is vital for collagen and elastin, a fiber that supports skin structure; it may improve texture. Vitamin E (tocopherol) protects cell membranes. Get your antioxidants in green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, carrots, blueberries, beans, fatty fish and nuts.

The Doctors is an Emmy-winning daytime TV show with pediatrician Jim Sears, OB-GYN Lisa Masterson, ER physician Travis Stork, and plastic surgeon Andrew Ordon. Check www.thedoctorstv.com for local listings.