understanding your skin

How to Care for Sun Damage

Sun damage is an umbrella term for the effect that prolonged sun exposure has on the skin and includes pigment and vascularity changes, potential growth of cancerous lesions and increased thinning of the skin. Sun damage is more common in mature skins but it can present itself at any age.

Method of self diagnosis

Before you begin a skin analysis, ask yourself if you have frequently been out in the sun without protection? Do you wear SPF everyday? The more exposure to UV rays you have had, the more likely it is that your skin is sun damaged. 

Sun damage can present itself in many forms and because UV rays deplete collagen levels, one of  the signs of sun damage is more fine lines and wrinkles showing and there might be more skin laxity too. 

Can you see areas of pigmentation such as darker spots and freckles or even areas where the pigmentation has been lost? UV rays increase melanin production which can lead to uneven pigmentation. 

Are there more broken capillaries present, are you more flushed than you used to be? Sun exposure weakens the capillary walls, leading to spider veins and diffused redness. 

Then, feel your skin. Can you feel any rough, scaly patches that stay for a long time. This is solar keratosis, a form of sun damage that is extremely common.

What can I do?

The first step to improving sun damaged skin is to further limit any UV exposure that can exacerbate the condition. Incorporate a mineral SPF into your routine and try to avoid exposing your face when the sun is at its strongest between 11am - 2pm. 

Keep an eye on any moles or areas of pigmentation that you have. Sun damaged skin has the potential to become cancerous so if they change shape or colour, it’s best to get them checked out by a doctor. 

Incorporate antioxidant rich foods into your diet. Lycopene, an antioxidant found in watermelon and tomatoes, can help your skin reduce free radical damage from UV rays.

How can treatments help?

When targeting sun damage, treatments that create strong tissue regeneration are best. 

Renew You, our resurfacing laser treatment, and Time Traveller, our medical needling treatment, both deliver controlled injury in the skin in order to kickstart the skin’s natural healing process that will then lead to the production of new collagen and remodeling of the existing fibers. This results in firmer, thicker skin and due to the regenerating properties of these technologies, it can also reduce the appearance of pigmentation too.  

Chemical peels help to further improve the texture of the skin by giving a polishing effect to the surface which supports healthy glow. Peels also balance out the pigment production, so they create more even skin tone. 

A great option if your sun damage shows in age spots and freckles is our Real Life Retouching AFT treatment. It permanently targets areas of pigmentation whilst leaving the surrounding tissue intact.

What products support improvement?

The most important product to introduce into your routine if you haven’t already is an SPF. Mineral is our preference as it's both skin and ocean friendly but find one that you love and want to apply everyday! To further protect your skin, incorporate antioxidants. These work by destroying free radicals that can cause cell damage. Look for a vitamin C rich formulation such as ZENii Antioxidant Power Serum or SkinVital. If you can’t tolerate vitamin C then Odacite Ac+R harnesses the power of the acai berry to protect your skin. 

Hydrate your skin intensively and don’t be afraid to reach for richer moisturisers to really lock the hydration in. Essence 27 is rich in hyaluronic acid and vitamin C so it’s a match made in heaven for parched, sun damaged skin. Esse Cream Mask and Synergie Masquerase will help to nourish and rebuild your skin as you sleep. 

To target skin texture and tone, a vitamin A based product will encourage collagen and elastin production as well as increasing cell turnover which reduces the appearance of pigmentation. Elequra’s Radiance Accelerator Serum contains retinol alongside other pigmentation fighting ingredients and is a fantastic all rounder to reduce the signs of sun damage.