How to Reverse Sun Damage
August 07, 2013
As summer wears on, people are trying to get outside and soak up as much sun as possible before autumn arrives and temperatures cool off. However, the longer daylight hours and intensity of the sun make skin protection that much more important. A good sunblock with high SPF is always important. But because none of us are perfect, chancesyou are you are wondering how to reverse sun damage already done.
The way in which the skin is damaged by the sun’s UVA and UVB rays manifests in a variety of ways. Sun damage, or “photo aging,” can cause wrinkles, fine lines, pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions, hyperpigmentation (freckles), discolouration, sallowness, loss of skin volume, and elastosis (the destruction of elastin and collagen tissue which causes lines and wrinkles). Although some of these symptoms are the result of normal aging, sun damage may intensify and accelerate this process by inhibiting the skin’s ability to support and renew itself. Topical antioxidants like Green Tea Extract and Vitamins C and E can help not only to prevent but also treat sun damage by guarding against free-radical damage, which in turn helps the skin to repair its cells and protect against future damage. Antioxidants also help to minimize the appearance of brown spots, uneven skin tone, and hyperpigmentation, while simultaneously reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by strengthening elastin and collagen. A daily skincare regimen that includes cleansing, exfoliation, nourishment, moisturization, and protection can help to minimize and even reverse the signs of sun damage. Cleanser, toner, and moisturizer that contain antioxidants will help to decrease hyperpigmentation and promote skin clarity and evenness. Look for a moisturizer that contains peptides (matrixyl) and hyaluronic acid, which help the skin retain moisture. Peptides also stimulate collagen and elastin production, which aids in moisture retention and skin evenness and texture. Hyaluronic acid helps the skin to regain its plumpness, which is deteriorated by sun damage, and smoothness. An Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA)-based cream or gel, used after cleansing and toning, will help to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by sloughing away dead skin cells, promoting cell turnover, and stimulating collagen and elastin production. Topical Retinol treatment, which requires a physician’s supervision, is a very effective in treating sun damaged skin. Retinol works by increasing the quantity of fibroblasts in the dermal layer of the skin, which improves the skin’s strength and resilience.
You can also help sun damaged skin through what you eat. Some scientific evidence indicates that a diet rich in antioxidants can help to protect against and improve signs of photoaging. Some foods packed with antioxidants include cherries, which also contain high levels of melatonin, and green tea, which can help neutralize free radicals and improve skin elasticity and scaling. Cremini mushrooms, which contain high concentrations of selenium ( a trace mineral that produces the antioxidant glutathione peroxidase) are another food that can help fight sun damage by combatting free radicals during sun exposure.
One of the best things you can do for your skin is to prevent sun damage in the first place by wearing a sunblock with an SPF of 30 year-round. High quality sunscreens containing antioxidants, peptides, hyaluronic acid, and AHAs will help nourish and rejuvenate skin, while SPF protects from the sun’s harmful rays. When the sun is very strong, wear a hat and loose protective clothing, and ensure that you reapply sunblock frequently.