How to Treat Sun Damaged Skin?

Summer is all about getting outside but even if we're diligent with putting on our sunscreen, there are times where we get a little too much sun. We’ve all spent too much time at the pool or beach hoping to get a tan. We slathered the lowest SPF sunscreen on (if we used any at all) and told ourselves we’d be out there for a little bit. We worked on our base tans like they actually protected us. But the truth is, over time overexposure can cause damage to our skin.

What is Sun Damage?

In simplest terms, skin damage occurs from overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays put out by the sun and tanning beds. As UV rays are absorbed into the skin, they damage the DNA of skin cells. It’s found that UV rays were responsible for 80.3% of skin’s aging, including wrinkles and skin texture changes.

One of the biggest problems with sun damage is that it’s cumulative, building over time from the first childhood exposures. Plus air pollution, cigarette smoke, and household chemicals add to environmental stress on the skin. So how do you fix it?

Skin damage caused by UV rays

Sun Prevention

Prevention is easier than reversal when it comes to sun damage, but there are options out there to treat visible aging signs from sun damage, known as photo-aging.

The thing is, you have to commit to using serious sun protection before you use them. Otherwise, you’ll be doing more harm than good. Avoid peak sun hours, cover up exposed skin (hats and sunglasses), and regularly use sunscreen throughout the day.

skincare ingredients for treating sun damage

Here are the key ingredients in reversing sun damage:

1. Niacinamide
Nacinamide can:

  • act as an antioxidant

  • improve epidermal barrier function

  • decrease skin hyperpigmentation

  • reduce fine lines and wrinkles

  • decrease redness and blotchiness

  • decrease skin yellowing

  • improve skin elasticity

Niacinamide is also readily available in many serums and moisturizers, making it an easy addition to your routine like the 

2. Azelaic acid
This can help reduce marks left by acne and lightening any dark spots from sun exposure by slowing the production of melanin. 

Azelaic acid is a pretty stellar ingredient for anti-acne and antiaging, but isn’t as well-known as its counterparts like hydroxy acids and retinoids. It has anti-oxidant properties. 

3. Topical retinols and retinoids
Vitamin A derivatives work to fade hyperpigmentation by increasing epidermal cell turnover in addition to other mechanisms. 

“Decades of research confirm tretinoin as the “gold standard” in topical treatment for fighting acne and clogged pores, as well as reducing fine lines, unwanted pigmentation, and improving skin texture,” says Lortscher.

4. Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a superstar ingredient when it comes to anti-aging and repairing existing skin damage. It blocks damage before it even happens by neutralizing free radicals. Try the Schaf Vitamin C Revitalizing serum with Niacinamide

5. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs)
Alpha hydroxy acids can help reduce hyperpigmentation. It’s recommended to use these in the evening, with a sunscreen used in the morning. Check out the Maximum Consonant Glycolic Meta Serum to pair with your SPF.

Natural Remedies for Sun Damage 

  • Steam Clean Your Face - For a deep-cleansing and detoxing, start with a citrus steam facial.
  • Apply Topical Antioxidants - After the facial cleanse, apply a natural serum with antioxidants.
  • Eat Antioxidant-Rich Food - It is important the skin is nourished from both the outside and inside.
  • Drink Plenty of (Clean) Water - Drinking water is an important step in detoxing skin.
  • Get Your Beauty Sleep - A solid 7-8 hours of sleep a night will help improve skin tone.
  • Always Wear Safe Sunscreen - It’s never too late to start protecting yourself against the harmful effects of the sun. We love The Perfect Sunscreen from Consonant.

Why You Should Care about Sun Damage?

We’ve primed you on how to protect yourself, but half the battle of being vigilant with your routine is understanding why.

Sun damage isn’t just about the visible marks, spots, and signs of aging — the rays are also carcinogenic. They also suppress certain activities of the immune system, playing a key role in the development of skin cancer.

Yes, both UVA and UVB are team cancer, and they’re working both angles to make it happen. While UVB burns your skin, UVA stealthily penetrates deep into your skin with no immediate warning signs.

Next time you think about getting your tan on, try these tips to keep you sun-safe all summer long! 

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