Most of us love the feel of warm sun on our skin but the reality is, exposure to the sun and harmful UVA/UVB rays can have damaging effects on the skin and is one of the primary causes of premature ageing. As much as we try to protect our skin during summer, we’re all human and slip up now and then, so no doubt you’ve suffered some degree of sun damage. If you’re at that stage, read on for our guide to help repair your skin and protect it in future.
HOW SUN EXPOSURE AFFECTS THE SKIN
Exposure to some sunlight can be beneficial, thanks to skin using sunlight to help manufacture vitamin D, which is important for bone health. But UV (or ultraviolet) rays also penetrate the outer skin layers and pass into the deeper layers, where they can damage or kill skin cells, with those with fair skin more susceptible to sun damage. Up to 80% of fine lines and wrinkles are the result of UV damage and exposure to the sun can dry out the skin. UV also causes skin sagging, blotchiness and roughness. At worst, frequent and prolonged exposure to UV rays over the years can cause skin cancer.
THE SIGNS OF SUN DAMAGE
Sun damage can be manifested in the appearance of dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles. To minimise this appearance and prevent further damage, focus on hydrating and protecting the skin inside and out and follow our after-sun care tips below.
HOW TO TREAT DRY, SUN-DAMAGED SKIN THE NATURAL WAY
1. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher every day, even when it’s overcast. Sunscreens act as a daily shield against harmful UV rays which penetrate your skin when exposed to the sun, as well as help prevent your skin from developing fine lines and wrinkles. To increase sun protection, cover up with a hat, sunglasses and lightweight clothing.
2. Keep skin hydrated with nourishing essences, serums, moisturisers and hand creams. After cleansing, apply our Activating Water Essence to rejuvenate skin and provide long-lasting hydration and apply an antioxidant serum such as our Herbal Recovery Signature Serum Serum to boost skin’s radiance and protect it from environmental aggressors. The skin around the eyes is delicate and prone to the signs of sun damage so dab on an eye cream or gel suited to your skin’s needs daily.
3. Exfoliate to even out your skin tone. Use our Daily Exfoliating Cream to gently slough off the dead skin cells that can make the skin look blotchy and uneven. Our Purely White skin care range contains powerful brightening botanicals including Kakadu Plum and African Birch to even skin tone and reduce the appearance of discolourations, as well as natural plant-based oils to nurture the skin and protect it from moisture loss.
4. Increase your intake of antioxidant-rich foods such as blueberries, strawberries, kale and artichokes. Antioxidants can help fight free radicals, maintain healthy skin and prevent the appearance of wrinkles, so will give your skin the boost it needs if you’re experiencing sun damage.
5. Get a skin check once a year with your local GP. Your doctor will perform a full body examination, looking for abnormal skin lesions or moles with unusual colours or shapes.
For more summer skin care tips, read our guide to looking after your skin during the hotter months and shop our full range of natural-based skin care.