5 Simple Tips for Avoiding Sun Damaged Skin

by | Sep 23, 2020 | Health

Are you looking for ways to avoid sun damage to your skin?

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, 90 percent of aging is caused by the sun. But, we all know that getting some sunshine can make you feel really good.

Luckily, there are things you can do to avoid sun damage and still have fun in the sun. Check out this guide to learn the top tips for avoiding sun-damaged skin.

1. Wear Sunscreen

We all know that wearing sunscreen can help protect us from sunburns and sun damage. However, many people don't realize that wearing sunscreen isn't just for those days when you're headed to the beach.

You should be wearing sunscreen every time you step outside, whether it's sunny and 90 degrees or cloudy and 50 degrees. Even when it's overcast or rainy, the sun's UV rays can still penetrate through to your skin.

Luckily, all it takes is a good sunscreen to block out most of these harmful rays. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Also, make sure that the sunscreen you select protects you against both UVA and UVB rays. These are the ultraviolet rays that can penetrate deep into the skin, causing both skin aging and cancer.

While it's important to wear sunscreen any time you step outside, you especially want to wear it if you'll be going outside between 10 AM and 2 PM, as this is when the sun's rays are the strongest.

Lastly, don't forget to reapply your sunscreen every few hours.

2. Wear Layers

In addition to applying sunscreen to prevent skin damage from the sun, you should also wear layers when going outside. Layered clothing can add an extra layer of defense, and it can save you from sunburn should you forget to reapply your sunscreen.

If you spend a lot of time outside during the daylight hours, we recommend investing in clothing with UV protection. While this type of clothing isn't a substitute for sunscreen, it can add some extra protection against the sun.

In terms of protecting the skin on your face, it's a good idea to wear a broad-brimmed hat and a pair of sunglasses. And, don't forget to apply a lip balm with SPF in it.

3. Avoid Tanning

Despite what some companies may claim, there is no safe or healthy way to tan.

Tanning not only damages your skin cells, but it also speeds up the visible signs of aging. And, it can even lead to skin cancer.

The light in tanning beds contains harmful UVA rays that penetrate deeply into the skin and break down its collagen and elastin. While tanning of any kind if bad, indoor tanning is especially harmful, as the UVA exposure in a tanning bed is 12 times higher than the UVA exposure from the sun.

Even if you wear sunscreen in a tanning bed or start at a low setting to prevent burning, it's still not enough to prevent skin cancer. So, skip the bed and opt for a spray tan instead.

4. Know How to Treat a Sunburn

If you do get a sunburn, the damage is done, and there isn't much you can do to reverse it. However, there are things you can do to make sure that your sunburn heals properly.

This includes:

  • Getting out of the sun immediately when you notice a burn
  • Rubbing aloe vera on the affected area
  • Staying out of the sun until your sunburn has healed
  • Taking aspirin or ibuprofen to reduce swelling, redness, and inflammation
  • Allowing the blisters to heal naturally if your skin forms any
  • Using a moisturizer to help soothe the burn
  • Taking cool baths or showers to relieve the pain

Also, a lot of people become dehydrated after a sunburn, so make sure to drink extra fluids in the following days.

5. Consider Cosmetic Treatments for Your Sun-Damaged Skin

While cosmetic treatments cannot prevent sun damage, they can help to reverse the signs of aging related to sun damage.

There are a lot of different ways you can treat sun-damaged skin. Here are some of your options:

Retinoid or Retinol Creams

Retinoid/retinol creams are derived from vitamin A, and they help to improve cell turnover and slough off dead skin cells. This way fresher and younger-looking skin cells are revealed.

These chemicals also help to stimulate collagen production and lighten dark spots.

Most retinoids you need a prescription for, whereas retinol can be purchased over the counter. However, retinol is not as strong as a retinoid. The only product that contains retinoid that is sold over the counter in the US is Differin gel, which is primarily used for treating acne.

Lightening Agents

Lightening agents can be used in conjunction with retinoid to lighten spots and uneven pigmentation. Examples of popular lightening agents include hydroquinone, cysteamine, and kojic acid.

Exfoliants

Sun damage slows the rate at which your skin cells turn over. This can lead to dull, dry, and uneven skin. It can also lead to clogged pores and even blemishes. 

Exfoliating your skin once or twice per week can help increase the rate of skin cell turnover. You could also opt for a chemical exfoliant that will turn the skin cells over even faster.

Chemical Peel

This is a non-surgical procedure that removes the outermost layers of your skin. This way, new, clear skin can emerge to the surface.

In many cases, chemical peels can help remove uneven pigmentation and fine lines.

Laser Therapy

Laser therapy can also help reduce the appearance of sun damage. There are several different types of laser therapy for sun-damaged skin, including:

  • Ablative lasers
  • Fractional non-ablative lasers
  • Light-based devices

You can speak to your dermatologist to figure out which of these sun damage treatments is right for you.

Time to Prevent Sun-Damaged Skin

Now that you know how to prevent sun-damaged skin, it's time to put these tips into action. Pretty soon, you'll have younger, more vibrant looking skin!

In addition to using these tips to prevent sun-damaged skin, there are certain things foods you can eat to make your skin healthier.

Also, be sure to check out this guide to learn about the best foods for your skin.

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