The sun is the ultimate frenemy of your beauty routine.
It can help us create a gorgeous, sun-kissed glow, but there’s a fine line between getting a healthy tan and damaging your skin. The sun does provide certain benefits to our health, like providing us with a natural source of vitamin D and generally boosting our mood. But it can also lead to some serious skin issues, from temporary burns to more permanent damage or even cancer. Learn how to decipher the difference between a healthy dose of sunshine and sun-induced skin damage in our guide below!
What is sun-damaged skin?
Sun damage slows the rate at which skin cells regenerate or replace. This can lead to dullness, dryness, an uneven skin tone, blemishes, and clogged pores.
How can skin become damaged by sun rays?
The sun emits ultraviolet rays, which are harmful to the skin and can ultimately cause damage. These rays are the main cause of sunburn, premature aging, and even skin cancer.
Signs of Sun-Damaged Skin
- Broken capillaries, usually around the nose
- Loss of skin elasticity
- Hyperpigmentation, such as age spots and brown patches of discoloration.
- Irregular skin texture
Symptoms of Sun Damage
Sunburn is caused by prolonged exposure of bare skin to direct sunlight, causing inflammation of the epidermis layer. As a result, the skin becomes pink or red and feels very tender. Sunburn can also cause blisters and peeling on the skin. More serious cases of sunburn can lead to infections, dehydration, and sunstroke.
Age spots are small patches of hyperpigmentation (darkness) on the skin. They are most often found on the hands, face, neck, and chest, or regions of the skin that experience the maximum sun exposure.
The sun dehydrates and drains your skin of its natural moisture. Overexposure to the sun can dry up the skin and make it look ashy, flaky, and scratchy.
When skin cells turn out to be broken or unhealthy, extra melanin is produced to assist in protecting your skin. This can result in the appearance of darks spots on your skin, otherwise known as hyperpigmentation.
Alternatively, the cells that produce pigment may be broken, which prevents melanin production. As a result, components of your skin can also additionally become lighter, a condition known as hypopigmentation.
Wrinkles appear on the face in different areas around the eyes, lips, and nose because of sun rays.
Excessive sun exposure can seriously harm the skin and increase the risk of developing skin cancer. There are numerous different forms of skin cancer, with basal cell, squamous, and melanoma being the most prevalent. Malignant melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can occasionally develop from a mole.
Small, crusty skin bumps called actinic kurtosis (AKs) commonly develop on the face, lips, ears, scalp, shoulders, neck, and backs of the hand. A kind of skin pre-cancer termed AKs is caused by excessive sun exposure. If you think you may have actinic kurtosis, get medical assistance immediately.
How to Repair and Prevent Sun Damaged Skin
The best way to protect your skin from sun damage is adopting sun protection habits in your daily routine:
- The initial and most important step that people should take is to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against UV exposure on a daily basis. UV rays can penetrate through clouds and windows, so it shouldn’t just be worn when you’re going to the beach.
- When in the sun, keep as much of your skin covered as you can – this includes wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and long sleeves if possible.
- Drink a sufficient amount of water to keep your skin and body hydrated.
- Use nourishing moisturizers and lip balms in your skincare routine.
- Get enough sleep so that your skin cells can properly regenerate.
- Avoid UV lights.
- Eat foods that provide sun protection.
- Avoid the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m, as this is when UV rays are at their strongest.
Other Ways to Protect the Skin From Sun Damage
Take vitamins for repairing sun-damaged skin
- They promote the formation of new, healthy skin cells.
- They fights free radicals that can harm collagen in order to prevent premature skin aging.
- They inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase, which plays a role in the production of the pigment melanin that is responsible for making your skin darken.
- Vitamins E and C defend against UV-induced skin damage including preventing the formation of sunburn cells, erythematic, edema, blistering, molecular signs of DNA damage, and the development of skin cancer.
- Regular exfoliation helps renew your skin and repair UV damage.
- Exfoliation techniques range from mild scrubs to chemical peels.
- The new skin that is revealed beneath your dead skin when you exfoliate can be smoother and less pigmented.
Hydrate your skin
Hydration is an important part of the skincare routine, especially for sun-damaged skin. Dry skin can’t effectively repair itself and produce new skin cells that maintain your skin health. Dry skin has a tendency to enhance sun damage like fine lines and wrinkles, so ensure you’re using a nourishing moisturizer in the morning and evening.
Use coconut oil in your skincare routine
Coconut oil, a powerful antioxidant, is commonly referred to as a savior when it comes to repairing sun-damaged skin. It contains beneficial fatty acids and Vitamin E that hydrate the skin, repair sun damage, and promote an even skin tone.