How to Prevent & Correct Sun Damaged Skin

by | Updated: January 4th, 2019 | Read time: 3 minutes

It’s summertime and the living is bright and sunny. The most important thing you can do to maintain a healthy-looking complexion is to protect your skin from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Oftentimes, we think we only need sunscreen while we are by the pool or outdoors enjoying summer activities, but the truth is we need it 365 days a year!

Woman in Sunshine Who Knows to Prevent & Correct Sun Damaged Skin

Causes of Skin Damage

Did you know that sun damage is the leading factor in skin aging? As we get older, our skin naturally loses its elasticity and becomes thinner due to collagen breakdown, but this process can be fast-tracked by overexposure to the sun. When light hits the skin, it creates free radicals that attach themselves to important cellular proteins and DNA, ultimately causing collagen damage. When skin darkens or turns red, it means that there was an inflammatory response at the cellular level. The result? Uneven pigmentation, dark spots, wrinkles, rough skin and, in extreme cases, skin cancer.

Exposure to the sun and repeated sunburns accelerate the skin’s aging process. Skin variations caused by the sun are called photo-aging. The symptoms of photo-aging include:

  • Loss of elasticity
  • Dry, dehydrated, rough skin
  • Wrinkles and fine lines
  • Broken capillaries
  • Freckling on your face, chest, shoulders and hands
  • Large brown spots or lesions

In addition to the sun, our skin is exposed to numerous environmental aggressors and toxic chemicals during warmer weather. We all know sun protection is crucial, but what about your daily topical antioxidants and skin supplements that help fight free radical damage and strengthen the skin? It’s important to eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables loaded with antioxidants. Wholesome, unprocessed and plant-based foods help reduce inflammation and decrease the likelihood of breakouts and irritations.

Fight Against Damage

One essential antioxidant is vitamin C. It’s a vital nutrient for the health of our body and especially our skin, but our bodies don’t produce it naturally, making it crucial to get it internally through our diet and topically through our skin care products. Most of what we ingest is used internally, therefore adding topical vitamin C to your skin care regimen is essential to help combat UV damage for healthy, strong, supple skin.

Buyer beware: Not all vitamin C is created equal! Look for a clinically correct form of vitamin C, meaning it has the right molecular structure that your skin can absorb, recognize, and then utilize. L-ascorbic acid—the only active form of vitamin C on the skin—enhances skin’s natural renewal process, protects skin against pollution and environmental damage, reduces the appearance of dark spots and helps to improve the look of discoloration.

Vitamin C needs to be in a concentration of 10% or higher in your skincare products to be effective on the skin. The incorporation of other key antioxidants and nutrients into a vitamin C product helps to improve the overall health of the skin. Look for a vitamin C serum with L-ascorbic acid to help correct damage made worse by the summer sun.

To rejuvenate your skin overnight, look for products formulated with vitamin A, the key anti-aging ingredient for smoother, more evenly toned skin. Retinal—the gold standard of vitamin A—interrupts the free radical damage process and boosts skin’s natural renewal process to help reduce wrinkles, blemishes and dark spots.

Prevention is Key!

At the end of the day, prevention is key! Seek out the shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.—this is when the UV index is at its highest and you are more susceptible to sun damage. Use a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 15 every day. When spending an extended time outside, use a broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

What precautions do you take to keep your skin youthful and healthy? Got a tip? Share it with us!