Sun Damage Control in 8 Steps

Emma-Charlotte Bangay

Beauty and Lifestyle Expert

There’s always a hangover from summer, and if it’s not lurking around your liver, it’s written all over your face. Sun damage lingers longer than we’d like it to, and it can lead to more sinister skin problems Emma Bangay discovers.

Too much sun can cause ageing of the skin as exposure to UV light destroys elastin and promotes wrinkles,” explains Cosmetic Nurse Practitioner, Katherine Millar-Shannon, Founder of Duquessa Skin Sanctuary. “It also damages the chromosomes in your skin cells which are the strands of DNA contained in each cell in your body.” When the sun’s ultraviolet radiation reaches the surface of the skin, the skin reacts by producing melanin (aka a tan) to protect itself. “UVA rays are milder than UVB rays, but because their wavelengths are longer, they penetrate deeper through the skin’s layers contributing to wrinkling the skin.

sun-damageimage credit: pinterest

Got your attention now? Here are eight other important stats and treatments for sun damage:

Wrinkles Aren’t The Only Sign of Sun Damage:

“The effects of sun damage on your skin and overall health can vary depending on the level of sun exposure you have had, your skin type, your age and a variety of other factors,” points out Katherine. “Sun damage can lead to cosmetic changes in your skin, such as premature ageing, wrinkles and discolouration. It can also lead to more serious conditions, like skin cancer.”

Some of the more common effects of sun damage include:

– Premature aging of the skin, discoloration and textural changes

– Sun Spots: Solar keratosis are skin lesions that develop as a result of exposure to the sun’s UV rays, explains Katherine.

– Skin cancer: “Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Australia and approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with a form of skin cancer before the age of 70.”

Your Skin Never Forgets What It In Summer, No Matter How Long Ago It Was:

“It is said that the skin remembers every photon of sunlight,” says Dr. Spiller Skincare Expert, Sue Dann. “Signs of damage appear gradually. Lines, wrinkles and freckles can become visible in the late 20’s or early 30’s. There is no mistaking sun-worshippers in their 40’s and 50’s – their habit is written all over their face and body.”

You Can Treat Sun-Damage From The Inside, Out.

Skin needs to be protected externally from UV rays, urges Sue, but she adds that a healthy diet can also help by providing better raw materials in case the skin has to enter into repair following UV exposure. “It will also ensure that vitamins such as E, C and beta carotene are available,” she says. “These vitamins are important free radical scavengers and they also naturally give the skin a low level of UV protection which should not be underestimated.”

Your Level Of Skin Damage Relates To Your Skin Type:

“There are six skin phototypes, going from light to dark,” explains Katherine. “Individuals with skin types one and two face the highest risk of developing skin cancer, while types five and six are at the lowest risk,” she explains. “The more pigmentation you have more natural protection you have from the sun. However, people with darker skin can nonetheless get skin cancer,” she cautions. “Like light-skinned people, should be cautious of the sun and have regular examinations by a doctor.”

Your Daily Routine Will Make a Difference:  

What you do at home daily really makes a difference, notes Sue. “The skin should be cleansed with a gentle, non-stripping cleanser and dead skin cells should be exfoliated once or twice weekly with gentle mechanical exfoliation with a non-abrasive medium being the safest option.” Hydration is the most important step, Sue adds. “The skin’s natural functions are optimized if the skin is well hydrated, and active ingredients are able to develop their full potential. Research has shown that the application of certain types of moisturizers can also improve elasticity of the skin.”

Shop Sun-Damage Treats at the Supermarket:

Sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene which is great for skin, notes Katherine. “Green tea contains a high concentration of catechins, which boast anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, and antioxidant effects that fight off free radicals from the sun and sunflower seeds contain the powerful antioxidant vitamin E.”
The Future of Sun Damage Treatments is Now:

Skin resurfacing, Platelet Rich Plasma, Fractional Laser, Omnilux and in-clinic peels are all treatments you should research if your pigmentation is trying your patience. The benefits of these include tightening crepey skin, resurfacing the complexion and rejuvenating damaged and tired complexions.

You Need To Put Your Post-Summer Skin in Rehab. No Relapses Allowed:

“Sun causes wrinkles, brown spots, red capillaries, and thin, dry skin,” Katherine states. “Your skin rehab includes exfoliating with glycolic acid or even a loofah pad, and at night put vitamin A on your skin,” Katherine suggests. “That’s the wonder drug for the skin – and it’s really the only thing other than surgery that can reverse the effects of the sun.”


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