Anti-Aging After Sun Damage? It's Possible!
Updated: Apr 15
You know it's important to wear sunscreen, right? You've heard it a thousand times. But you also want a healthy glow, you need Vitamin D from the sun, and you can't stay inside all the time... So how do you balance sun protection with real life?
You can't talk about skincare and anti-aging without including sunscreen. It's just a fact. Why spend time creating a custom skincare regimen, including the best cleanser, toner, serum, night cream, and eye cream if you are exposing your skin to the sun without proper protection? It doesn't make sense. So let's talk about why it's so important to protect your skin from the sun and what you can do if you haven't always covered up.
Let's talk UV basics
There are many different types of rays present in sunlight, but the ones that are the most damaging to our skin are called ultraviolet (UV) rays. The two basic types of UV rays that reach the earth's surface are called UVA and UVB rays.
So what's the difference?
UVA rays penetrate the skin more deeply, causing premature aging and physical changes like deep lines and wrinkles. UVA rays do play a role in skin cancer formation, but not nearly as much as UVB rays [more on this in a minute]. The reason we should care about UVA rays is that there are 500 times more of these than UVB rays in sunlight [read that again] so when it comes to anti-aging, we all need protection from UVA rays.
Even though there are fewer UVB rays in sunlight, these are the rays that play the greatest role in skin cancer formation, including malignant melanoma. These rays directly damage the outermost layers of the skin as well as our DNA, so we're talking serious business here.
What happens when you don't use sunscreen?
No matter your skin tone, there are both immediate and long-term effects of skipping sunscreen [see above]. Besides the risk of developing skin cancer, the physical effects are sunburn, sun spots, loss of elasticity, and lines & wrinkles. If none of these sound particularly appealing, let's talk about how to reverse some of these effects of sun damage.
I thought I needed Vitamin D...?
You do! But you shouldn't put your skin at risk just to get some Vitamin D from the sun. Try vitamin supplements or foods like salmon, tuna and egg yolks. Vitamin D fortified milk, juices or cereals can also be a solution. Check out this article which discusses Vitamin D myths and covers lots of good points.
So how can I fix this?
If you used to lay out in the sun with baby oil, or if you used the dreaded tanning beds at a younger age, you are not alone. While you can't change the damage to your DNA, you can
reverse some of the aesthetic effects of sun damage.
1. Cover up with sunscreen from this day forward!
We love the SkinMedica Essential Defense Everyday Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 47 for our daily routine and Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum Sunscreen SPF 50+ for longer days outside. Be sure to reapply! Every two hours if you are outside, or after swimming or lots of sweating.
Don't neglect your neck, chest, and hands! These areas can show signs of aging more quickly, as the skin loses elasticity and volume. Rule of thumb: every time you apply sunscreen to your face, apply it to your neck, chest and hands.
2. Try antioxidants and AHA to correct hyperpigmentation
Foods high in antioxidants like blueberries, nuts, or avocado can make your skin appear healthier over time, and when paired with products like the SkinMedica LUMIVIVE System can repair age spots and redness.
Skincare products with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHA) can also improve the appearance of skin tone and texture. We use the AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser.
3. Get Chemical Peels
A chemical peel is a procedure in which a chemical solution is applied to the skin to remove the top layers. The skin that grows back is smoother and more radiant. Chemical peels are used to treat wrinkles, discolored skin and scars, including the appearance from sun damage.
* Chemical peels should be done regularly for the best results, and should not be done during the summer months.
4. Go for the Botox
We all know that Botox® treats wrinkles, but even if you don't have deep-set wrinkles, you may have visible fine lines that developed from years of sun exposure.
If this is the case, regular Botox® injections can help diminish or erase those pesky lines, leaving your skin smoother and younger looking.
So I shouldn't lose hope??!
No way. Knowledge is power, so take what you've learned and set a plan. Protect that beautiful skin, and of course, call us if you need any help! We're here for ya!