We’re all aware that being out in the sun is no good news for the skin but giving up on a nice day at the beach isn’t worth a compromise! Even with precautions, some amount of sun damage is imminent. So if you’re just back from a lovely time at the beach, it’s time to work on reversing some of that damage and helping your skin repair.
Sun damage can range from anywhere between tanning, darkening and sun spots to painful sunburns with inflammation. Sun damaged skin also becomes dry, wrinkly and leathery and repeated exposure makes it look prematurely aged. If you’re looking for some simple tips and tricks to start your skin up on rejuvenation-mode, here are some that actually work!
1. Citrus steam facial
A steam facial will give your skin that deep cleansing it needs to detoxify. Steam softens the dead skin and opens up the pores and unclogs them. This prevents acne and inflammation that can worsen upon sun exposure. Steam also increases blood circulation and hydrates the skin to boost repair and rejuvenation.
Adding a citrus element to your steam facial will supplement the skin with antioxidants that speed up the healing process. The fact that it’s also a mood enhancer is an added bonus to help you fight those post-vacation blues!
Take a bowl of boiling water (be extremely careful while handling it!) Add a few drops of citrus essential oil or a few lemon peels. Cover your head with a heavy towel and place it such that your face is above the bowl at a safe distance. Stay in this position for about 10 minutes, breathing normally and letting the steam hit the face.
Sun damaged skin has a layer of dead skin cells at the top that makes it dull, dry, itchy and prone to inflammation. To add to it, sun damage also slows down the rate at which new skin cells are produced to hamper the rejuvenation process.
Exfoliation will help your skin go a long way by removing this dead skin layer and stimulating the skin to produce new cells. It also deep-cleanses clogged pores to open them up and increase the skin’s absorption of nutrients from skincare. This is especially crucial for sun-damaged skin as it needs these nutrients to repair and heal.
Use a gentle exfoliator like a scrub with mild abrasion. Exfoliate your skin at least twice every week. Be gentle though, especially if your skin tends to be sensitive!
The sun’s UV radiation compromises the skin’s natural moisture barrier making it prone to external aggressions. When the skin’s immunity is low, it’s no longer protected from the attack of infections and allergens. This can further the skin damage with inflammation and wounds.
Restore the natural moisture barrier with some heavy moisturizing. Moisturize your skin every time you wash it and put on some deep repair balm before going to bed. You can also opt for natural botanical oils like clary sage, chamomile, jojoba or argan oil that not only moisturize the skin but also provide it with added nutrients to aid skin repair.
Sun exposure causes oxidation of the skin cells which releases free radicals that result in the damage you see. Antioxidants have the ability to neutralize these free radicals to reverse the damage! They also stimulate collagen production that fights wrinkles, hyperpigmentation and other signs of premature aging.
Antioxidants include vitamins, polyphenols, natural minerals, flavonoids and fatty acids among other nutrients. You can supply them to your skin either topically or through your diet.
Look for skincare products rich in vitamins A, C, E as well as omega acids. In your diet, include lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and fish for good sources of antioxidants. One popular source of some excellent antioxidants is green tea!
5. Hydrate and rest well
Adequate hydration and sleep are key to skin repair. They seem easy to achieve but are often and most easily forgotten! Water helps flush out toxins that tend to accumulate upon sun exposure. Sleep, on the other hand, is the period when the skin cells repair and restore damage. Both these factors increase blood flow to the skin cells which is essential for collagen production to keep the skin plump and full.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Include hydrating fruits and vegetables in your diet and supplement it with drinks like juices and teas. Avoid alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.
Also, get 7-8 hours of restful sleep every night. Your skincare is most effective when you’re asleep so make sure you don’t skip on that bed-time routine!
6. Home Remedies
Some of the simplest and most effective solutions to sun damaged skin are in fact available at home! Whip up your own face pack, exfoliating scrub or rejuvenating face mask to supply your skin with the much-needed nutrient boost.
- Aloe vera
Aloe is rich in vitamins A, C and E among several other active nutrients that are excellent for sun damaged skin. It also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that calm down skin irritated by UV radiation while also protecting it from infections.
Simply cut up an aloe stem and scoop out its transparent gel. Apply this as a mask on the skin before bedtime and leave it on overnight.
Turmeric not only calms and protects the skin with its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, but also fights pigmentation and lightens the skin tone. Yoghurt, on the other hand, balances the pH of the skin while also supplying it with lactic acid that reduces wrinkles and fine lines.
Mix 1tsp of turmeric with 3tbsp yoghurt and apply the mix on the skin, massaging gently. Leave it on for 20 minutes and rinse with warm water.
- Apple cider vinegar-honey
Your grandma probably seemed crazy to make you bathe in vinegar after a day in the sun but it actually works! Apple cider vinegar is not only a great exfoliant but it also soothes the skin against inflammation. Honey adds to the soothing effect while also giving the skin an antioxidant boost to speed up recovery and healing.
Mix 1tbsp of apple cider vinegar with 2tbsp honey and apply this mix as a face pack. Leave it on for 15-20 minutes before rinsing.
7. Protection from further damage
Once the skin is damaged by sun exposure, it becomes more vulnerable to further sun damage. If you’ve skipped the SPF once, doesn’t mean the damage is done and dusted forever!
Slather on some high-SPF sunscreen or sunblock to protect your skin and keep reapplying it every hour. Also, wear protective clothing and accessories whenever possible – bathing suits and bikinis might not seem that attractive on sun-burnt skin!