Sun damaged skin is not something we think about as young adults basking in the warmth of the beach, but the truth is skin cancer isnt the only thing we have to worry about from being exposed to the sun for too long. Wrinkles, age spots, freckles, and premature aging are all symptoms of sun exposure, and correcting sun damaged skin becomes a priority as we age.
To prevent sun damage, always protect yourself when you go outside. Apply sunscreen or use a moisturizer with an SPF every time you go outside. Make sure to apply it not only to your face but to your lips, neck, ears, and any areas of the scalp that show through due to parts, thinning hair, or balding.
Wear protective clothing and hats, even in the summertime. Jeans and tops with sleeves, even short sleeves, protect your skin better than shorts and tank tops. Apply sunscreen to any areas not covered by clothing, and always wear protective sunglasses to protect the skin around your eyes.
Keep your skin hydrated. Apply moisturizing lotion to your face and body at least once a day to ensure its not drying out. Dry, flaky skin that becomes parched will wrinkle.
Treating sun damaged skin is trickier than preventing it. Consult with your dermatologist for suggestions if your skin damage is extreme. Age spots or moles that change color or bleed should be checked for cancer.
Choose a moisturizer with antioxidant qualities. Vitamin E and Vitamin C help repair sun damage and can even reduce the look of wrinkles. Another antioxidant ingredient is tea, so look for products with green tea extract.
Before running out for a professional chemical peel, microdermabrasion, or laser treatment, try a natural exfoliator at home. Natural exfoliators contain antioxidants and mild abrasives like sugar to give your skin a soft, radiant glow.
Prescription products that feature retinol or alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) as their active ingredient are highly-effective, but they come with side effects not everyone can tolerate. They also contain ingredients that can do more harm to your skin than good. Look for a natural product free from parabens, alcohol, and fragrances. They should contain an antioxidant like tea or grapeseed oil.
Even if you already have sun damaged skin, do what you can to prevent further damage. If you are using a prescription wrinkle cream it may become less effective if exposed to the sun, so cover up and stay indoors as much as possible.