While the sun feels good on your skin, too much exposure to the sun’s UV rays can cause sun damage. Not only can sun damage lead to cancer, but it can wreak havoc on your skin by causing wrinkles, clogged pores, and pigmentation. The best way to avoid sun damage is through prevention. Making sure you’re limiting your time in the sun and using the right products can go a long way.
With that said, preventing sun damage isn’t always possible, especially during the summer months. Thankfully, there are also things you can do to undo sun damage. From re-evaluating your cleanser to trying prescription medication, here are a few tips you should know:
- Try Prescription Medication
Skin can be tricky and sometimes the best products for your skin are ones you can’t buy over the counter. If you’re struggling to prevent (or undo) sun damage, you might need a medicated alternative, like tretinoin. Tretinoin is a topical anti-aging cream that can also improve sun damage. It’s a generic form of Retin-A, a retinoid, designed to help erase wrinkles, reduce hyperpigmentation, and combat skin issues related to sun exposure.
Tretinoin works by speeding up the production of new skin cells. Increasing cell turnover promotes the shedding of dead skin cells, like the ones damaged by the sun. Tretinoin also promotes collagen production, increasing skin elasticity.
Tretinoin comes in three different strengths. Depending on your skin issues and preference, a provider may prescribe you the lowest or strongest strength. Typically, if you’re new to retinoids, it’s recommended you start with the lowest strength and work your way up to ensure your skin can tolerate the product.
- Reconsider Your Cleanser
While sun damage is common, it causes unwanted side effects. From wrinkles to an uneven skin texture, too much sun exposure can cause you to look older than you really are. One of the first things you should do to undo sun damage is re-evaluate your skincare regimen.
There’s a good chance the products you’re using don’t focus on preventing (or undoing) sun damage. Let’s start with your cleanser. You want to make sure you’re using a brightening cleanser to leave your face smoother and brighter. Cleansers with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) and beta hydroxy acid (BHA) are ideal.
In addition to a cleanser, you should consider using a chemical exfoliant. Sun damage decreases the rate at which skin cells replace themselves, which can cause uneven skin and clogged pore. A chemical exfoliant can increase cell turnover. Keep in mind that you don’t want to apply a chemical exfoliant every single day. Due to their harsh nature, stick to exfoliating only once or twice a week.
- Introduce a Vitamin C Serum
Vitamin C is a multipurpose ingredient, and that’s because it’s a powerful antioxidant. Vitamin C has been known to reduce wrinkles, even out the skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, and brighten your complexion. In fact, a study showed that individuals who used a vitamin C formulation daily for at least three months noticed improvement in their skin texture and appearance.
If you want to heal your skin from sun damage, it’s a good idea to include vitamin C in your skincare regimen. And luckily, there are many ways to do just that. Vitamin C can be found in cleansers, moisturizers, serums, sunscreen, and even oils. Some sheet masks even contain vitamin C, so it shouldn’t be hard to integrate this product into your routine.
It’s important to note, vitamin C can be very drying. So if you’re applying a serum, make sure to follow it up with a hydrating moisturizer.
Make sure to do a skin test before using vitamin C (or any other product for that matter). Rub a little bit onto your hand to see if you have a reaction like a rash or burning sensation. If nothing happens, you’re probably good to apply it to your skin.
- Apply a Retinol Moisturizer
Sun damage can change the way your skin looks and functions. For one, too much exposure to the sun can cause dryness. Not only does this make your skin look and feel rough, but it can cause premature aging. You don’t want that. That’s why moisturizing is so important to obtaining healthy and clear skin.
When shopping for a moisturizer, you want to pay close attention to the ingredient list. One of the best ways to reduce sun damage is to ensure your moisturizer contains a retinol (a term for topical vitamin A ingredients). Retinols work by encouraging cell turnover, which helps skin cells divide more rapidly and build a protective layer on the skin. Retinol also increases collagen, which can help heal damaged skin cells. Both processes can heal sun damage and help you achieve clear skin.
Thankfully, retinol can be found in many moisturizers, some of which you can pick up at a convenience or grocery store. Again, make sure you read the ingredients on the label and do a skin test prior to applying anything to your skin.
For some, their skin is their most important asset. After all, it’s one of the first things people see when they look at you. And while beauty is only skin deep, there’s nothing wrong with wanting healthy, glowing skin. While sun damage is common, the effects can be detrimental to your skin. By integrating the tips above, you can protect your skin from sun damage.