Do you remember the days when having a suntan happened to be a top priority in the summer? Sunscreen, eyeglasses and your hat took a rest inside your beach bag. Skin, however, “remembers” all the good and bad things you’ve done to it and now after years of prolonged sun exposure, you start noticing the side effects.
The statistics are shocking, although everybody knows that UV rays are one of the biggest risk factors for skin cancer. A recent study reveals that the rates of skin cancer today have increased by 800 percent for girls and 400 percent for boys aged 18 to 39 in comparison to the risk for the same age group 40 years ago.
Apart from being the cause of many dermatological conditions, unprotected exposure to sunlight is also one of the main causes of premature skin aging. If you never apply sunscreen before leaving your home, chances are that you’ll soon notice those first fine lines and dark spots appearing.
So, what can you do to reverse the years of sun damage? Here are 15 strategies that can give your skin its youthfulness back.
15 Use Sunscreen Every Single Time
Using sunscreen every day will protect your skin and also help with the process of skin regeneration. Sunscreen having SPF of 15 or higher is recommended for slowing down skin aging. Always apply a face cream that protects this gentle skin from the sun, as well.
Sunscreen should be worn on a daily basis to all exposed body parts. Yes, this applies to cloudy and rainy days, as well. UV rays aren’t affected by the weather and they can still cause damage.
For sunbathing days, apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and repeat at least every two hours. Sunscreens having both UVA and UVB protection are recommended to keep your skin safe from all kinds of harm.
Your local drugstore probably features dozens of exfoliating products. The size of the particles and the composition of such cosmetics will both have to be assessed for the selection of the best one. Some of the top exfoliants contain natural particles (sugar, salts, baking soda or oats), as well as a moisturizing agent.Remember not to exfoliate too much, most sites recommend 2 times a week at most.
Home microdermabrasion kits and AHA/BHA cleaners are among the top exfoliation products. Read the instructions carefully before getting started to prevent damage to your skin. Such products shouldn’t be applied to the delicate facial skin and people having sensitive skin need to be particularly careful.
13 Tan no More!
When is your favorite time to go on the beach? Are you a 10am to 4pm girl? This, however, is the time of the day during which the UV rays can cause the most damage. The use of sunscreen will be insufficient for adequate protection.
Nothing can stop the UV rays in the hours when the sun is strongest. Visit the beach early in the morning and in the afternoon, apply sunscreen every time you go out of the water or if you sweat. Choose light clothing to protect your body. Going for the beach bar and staying in the shade will also be great for reversing sun damage and keeping your skin from getting new wrinkles.
12 Hydrate and Moisturize
Even if you already have wrinkles due to years of unprotected exposure to the sun, you can still make your skin look plumper and younger. The secret? Quality hydration products.
Proper hydration is actually one of the best strategies for preventing the appearance of wrinkles. When skin cells lock moisture inside, they become bigger and more elastic. As a result, the wrinkles appear less prominent.
The market is truly diversified and you have dozens of options to choose among. Products containing collagen, vitamin C, peptides and retinol are all great picks for turning back the hands of time and reducing sun damage.
11 Consume Food Rich in Vitamin A
Vitamin A helps for tissue repair. It accelerates healing, stimulates collagen synthesis and reduces the risk of skin infections. The natural way to obtain vitamin A is through the consumption of eggs, milk, fish and vegetables like carrots and spinach.
You can also take vitamin A as a supplement. Ask your doctor for a prescription and correct dosage, if you intend to get started with a supplementation routine. Make sure your physician knows what other supplements you’re taking since vitamin A could potentially interact with other ingredients.
10 Antioxidant Power
Use the power of antioxidants to regenerate your skin and make it appear more youthful. Antioxidants protect the body against the harmful free radicals that cause damage on a cellular basis. Free radicals come from all kinds of toxins and they can cause premature cellular aging and death. Vitamin C, vitamin E and beta-carotene are some of the most powerful antioxidants. The easiest way to obtain them is to eat more fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and veggies that are blue, red, orange, purple and yellow usually happen to contain large quantities of antioxidants. Get in the habit of eating more broccoli, peaches, nectarines, grapefruit, tomatoes, mango, pumpkin, peppers, spinach and nuts.
Look for quality cosmetics that are based on antioxidants, as well. As already mentioned, vitamin C can do miracles for brightening up your complexion and restoring the elasticity of your skin.
9 Homemade Facial and Body Masks
Take a look in your kitchen pantry and you’ll find many products that are great for making regenerative masks and facials. Taking care of your skin is not just about buying expensive creams and doing different procedures. Use the power of nature to stop sun damage and reverse its effects.
Quality hydrating DIY masks can contain various ingredients like avocado, honey, lemon, coffee, coconut or olive oils, yoghurt, cucumber, carrot and many others. Just look for recipes that correspond to your skin type and the particular dermatological issues you’re dealing with.
8 Skin Whitening
Unprotected exposure to sunlight is one of the main reasons for the appearance of dark spots. Many people believe these can’t be removed but skin lightening creams and serums can actually do a pretty good job.
These products usually work by exfoliating the top layers of the skin that are hyper-pigmented and by targeting the melanocytes – the cells responsible for melanin production.
Look for skin whitening creams that contain Vitamin C or kojic acid. Both of these are natural ingredients capable of reducing the prominence of dark spots. Avoid products that are based on hydroquinone. The harsh chemical is banned in many countries and it can cause serious skin irritation.
7 Professional Derma Peeling
Professional peeling is based on the usage of chemicals for the removal of the upper layer of the skin. This procedure can be great for the treatment of acne scars, age spots, sunburns and discoloration.
Choosing the right professional is extremely important when opting for derma peeling. Although peels are cosmetic treatments, a dermatologist will examine the level of skin problems and suggest a personalized approach to resolving the issue. Derma peeling may cause side effects. You’ll also have to avoid sun exposure for a certain period of time after the procedure to allow skin recovery.
Choosing one procedure or the other will depend on the affected area and the degree to which your skin has been damaged. Microdermabrasion is intended for mild to moderate skin damage. Dermabrasion is a deeper procedure that can be used to deal with deeper wrinkles and more serious problems caused by unprotected exposure to sunlight.
5 Filler Injections
Filler injections restore the plumpness and the elasticity of the skin, thus making the wrinkles appear less prominent. The procedure is commonly used to treat wrinkles and face imperfections caused by ages or outdoor activities like sunbathing.
There are a few types of fillers and your dermatologist will suggest the one that’s best. Fillers contain different ingredients and their effectiveness decreases after a certain period of time. Talking to a dermatologist will help for the creation of a personalized plan.
4 LED Skin Treatment
Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are commonly used for the treatment of acne scars, wrinkles and sun damage. The LED treatment helps for collagen production and soothes skin after sunburns.
LED light penetrates the deeper layers of the skin, thus stimulating thorough recovery. One of the main features of the treatment is that the procedures are painless and they also make your skin feel cooler. The number of LED sessions depends on the condition of your skin.
3 IPL Therapy
Intense Pulse Light (IPL) technology is also used for the recovery of damaged skin. The light enters the dermal layers and can remove excess pigmentation caused by unprotected exposure to sunlight. Discoloration of the skin and brown spots caused by sun light absorb the IPL light and the generated heat destroys unwanted spots.
Sometimes, IPL is combined with topical products for a more comprehensive treatment. The number of treatments depends on skin condition but at least four procedures are needed in order to see significant improvements.
2 Laser Resurfacing
This technology uses light impulses that are absorbed by water. The light transforms into heat and destroys skin imperfections.
For the treatment of small areas, an OTC pain medicine will be needed. If laser resurfacing has to be performed to the entire face, a dermatologist will choose the right type of anesthesia. The time needed for complete recovery depends on the size and the condition of the treated area. Laser resurfacing will typically produce redness that can be expected to last for a couple of weeks.
1 Talk to Your Dermatologist
Sun damage can be reversed, as long as you choose the right approach. Talking to a dermatologist, having the condition of your skin assessed and choosing a treatment option that will address the exact cause of the problem will give you the best results.
Unless you’re using DIY facials and hydrating creams, you should talk to an experienced professional that specializes in reversing sun damage. Many of the procedures mentioned in this article are quite potent. They can deliver amazing results but they can also cause side effects if applied unprofessionally. Take your time, do research and ask questions – these will help you gain your confidence back by choosing an effective and safe rejuvenating procedure.