How to Solve Sun Damage

How to Solve Sun Damage

By Staff Account Posted on

If you’re worried about aging prematurely, the sun is an even bigger culprit than you may think. Experts say that ultraviolet rays are responsible for 80% of skin’s aging.1 So, if you’re noticing fine lines and dark spots in your younger adult years, it’s most likely related to sun damage.

But, what exactly is sun damage? And how can we avoid it? We’re here to give you the rundown on signs to look for and how you can fight off damaging UV rays and keep your skin looking healthy.

What is Sun Damage?

Simply put, sun damage is typically wrinkles, dark spots, and fine lines caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays, or UV rays, are a form of electromagnetic radiation that comes from the sun and can be very damaging to skin cells. Overexposure to UV rays can lead to signs of sun damage and even eye problems. Signs of sun damage include…

  • Wrinkles
  • Leathery skin
  • Scaly skin patches (actinic keratosis)
  • Yellow, thickened skin (solar elastosis)
  • Dark spots (liver spots)

signs of sun damage

If you notice any of these signs, here’s what you can do to start fighting future damage:

Get More Sleep

Sleeping is for recharging and allowing your cells to repair themselves overnight—and that includes skin cells! While you’re sleeping, your body sheds old, damaged cells and creates new cells. Right before bed is a great time to apply your moisturizer because your skin gets warmer so that product can seep in more easily. Aim for at least 7 hours of sleep every night for more hydrated, younger-looking skin.

Apply Sunscreen

While sunscreen may seem like a no-brainer, some people consider it an optional part of your routine. Although you may think it’s unnecessary unless you’re laying on the beach, you should be applying sunscreen every single day! Choose a daily broad-spectrum sunscreen to apply every morning before doing your makeup or going through your normal morning routine. If you plan on being in the sun for extended periods of time, you’ll want to apply all over your body and reapply every hour or so. You may be tempted to skip the sunscreen and attempt to get a golden tan, but this can be counteractive and cause harmful sunburns. Reapply vigorously and you’ll likely still see healthier tan lines without the painful aftermath of a sunburn.

Avoid Overexposure

avoid overexposure to UV rays for younger looking skin

Since UV rays are responsible for 80% of skin aging, it’s no surprise that experts suggest you should avoid sun exposure whenever possible. If you’re enjoying a day in the sun, try to apply sunscreen regularly and take breaks throughout the day to sit in the shade. 

Eat Strategically

Healthy eating can benefit your entire body including your skin! Studies have found that people who eat more nutritious whole foods are less likely to develop wrinkles than people who eat a lot of sugar, butter, and meat. This is because many healthier foods like nuts, fish, and vegetables contain a fatty acid called linoleic acid which works as a natural moisturizer. Eating linoleic acid and antioxidants can protect your skin even further from sun damage.

Get Moving

Exercising is another habit that’s great for your entire body. Whether you run, bike, lift weights, or simply go for a walk, getting your heart rate up increases blood flow and helps damaged skin cells recover more quickly. On top of quicker cell recovery, staying active helps you maintain a healthy weight which can keep your skin from sagging due to extra pounds.

Stress Less

destress for healthier skin

High levels of stress can take a huge toll on your skin because it increases the levels of a hormone called cortisol in your body. This hormone makes your skin hold onto water and raises your blood sugar, damaging collagen levels. To keep your stress levels low, there are a number of activities and habits you can do to tame the tension. This can include anything from yoga to painting, to exercise—how you destress is up to you!

Avoid Alcohol

A small glass of red wine may have its health benefits, but alcohol has more negative effects than positive when it comes to your skin. When you drink too much alcohol, the amount of sugar in the drink can cause a process called glycation, which dehydrates your skin and eventually leads to collagen destruction. For most people, a daily glass of wine or beer won’t cause any issues, but binge drinking can lead to glycation.

Moisturize Daily

Finally, stick to a daily moisturizer that you trust! Keeping your skin hydrated and moisturized will help maintain its elasticity and prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. Not to mention, regularly moisturizing can repair the top layer of your skin after sun damage so that it doesn’t leave as much of a lasting effect.

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  1. Sjerobabski-Masnec, Ines, and Mirna Šitum. "Skin aging." Acta Clinica Croatica 49.4 (2010): 515-518.