Sun Damage Skin : Prevent & Treat

Nikki Butler

Nikki Butler

Sun damage skin: Know how to avoid it!

First off, my blog on sun damage skin isn’t just about the negatives! There are plenty of benefits to being in the sunshine, and lots of ways you can avoid sun damage skin issues.

We’ll look at how you can prevent sun damage from the outside in, and inside out, plus how to treat sun damaged skin – if you do get it!

I was born in the mid ’70s, so my childhood saw a time when a high sunscreen protection was an SPF 8!!  And, my parents used to use Hawaiian Tropics oil, with barely any sun protection. I also see an awful lot of clients that grew up in these times, that are now suffering from premature ageing and sun damage. Fortunately, we can both prevent and treat – to a certain extent!

It's all about the rays

There are two types of UV rays you need to be aware of. UVA, and UVB. I always say that the easiest way to remember them is like this: UVA = A is for ageing, and UVB = B is for burning. You’re exposed to UVB when the sun is shining (even if it’s cloudy/hazy), and UVA rays, you’re exposed to 365 days a year, come rain or shine. 

UVB rays are the ones that are more commonly associated with skin cancer, and the ones that cause our skin to tan (or go lobster red!). These are what we typically think of when it comes to sun damaged skin. 

UVA rays are the WORST for ageing, as you’re exposed to them all year round, and they cause long-term damage to your skin. They penetrate deeper into the skin, causing premature aging, wrinkles, and age spots.  Overexposure to UVA rays can also increase the risk of skin cancer, it’s not just UVB. 

UVA rays are responsible for around 80% of premature ageing.  So, just by getting your sunscreen face on, you’re not only protecting your skin, you are ensuring you have younger-looking skin, for longer (hooray!). 

Let us start with the benefits!

It’s not all doom and gloom, and whilst sun damage skin needs to be avoided, there are plenty of benefits to having (safe) sun exposure.

* Sun exposure triggers the production of vitamin D in the skin, which is vital for many functions within our body, including healthy skin and cell production. 

* It makes us feel good, by boosting endorphins in the body. Sunshine has been proven to help with our mental well-being, and boost our mood. 

* Being exposed to natural daylight can help to regulate the body’s circadian rhythm, which is our natural sleep rhythm. 

It can also help with health conditions, such as high blood pressure. It stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels. Plus some skin conditions can actually IMPROVE with sun exposure, such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne. UV rays can have an anti-inflammatory effect. 

How to avoid sun damage skin

Below you’ll find my top 5 tips, for preventing sun damage skin this summer. Watch my video below, to help you choose one that’s right for you.

No1. Obviously, it’s sunscreen! I recommend a minimum factor 30, a broad spectrum, and a 4/5 star rating. Reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating.

No2. Hats and cover-ups for the win! You can protect your skin from the sun with gorgeous hats and loose-fitting shirts and dresses. 

No3. Be a shady lady: We all know this one, stay in the shade between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the rays are at their strongest.

No4. Protect your skin from within, by eating foods that are packed with antioxidants, to help protect your skin – see below for more information.

No.5 Stay hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day, and also slap on those hydrating hyaluronic serums at night. Whilst most people find they don’t need a moisturiser in the summer months, if you have sun damaged skin, then use a rich moisturiser that has soothing ingredients. 

Sunscreen recommendations

I go into a lot more details in my video, about the different types of sunscreen, and how to choose one that’s right for you.  It’s got subtitles, so you don’t need to have the sound on!

My preference is the AlumierMD skincare sunscreens, which are natural sunscreens. They suit my skin really well and are naturally hydrating, so I don’t need to use a moisturiser during the day. 

High street brands to look at are La Roche Posay and Vichy. As with Alumier, they also do tinted sunscreens too (different from moisturisers and makeup with sunscreen in – avoid those!). 

If you would like to know more about AlumierMD skin care, then you can click HERE.  You can also book a consultation with me, and we can go through your skincare routine. 

Food for thought

Prevent and treat sun damage skin from the inside out. With a background in nutritional therapy, I’ll always throw in my nutrition recommendations!

Berries are super rich in antioxidants, which help protect the skin from UV damage. Eat as many varieties as possible. 

Dark chocolate: Woohoo! This delicious stuff contains flavanols, which can improve skin hydration and protect against sun damage skin.

Eat your greens:  Spinach, kale, and other leafy greens contain lutein and zeaxanthin, which are super beneficial to your skin. 

Go red and juicy! Tomatoes contain lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant, these are fab in salads. 

Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help to nourish the skin and protect it. 

Orange glow: Carrots, pumpkin, and squashes are rich in beta-carotene, which helps to protect and heal your skin, supporting healthy collagen production and cell turnover. 

Scars and sun damage

I wanted to add a little extra about sun damaged skin and scarring.  Scar tissue is particularly vulnerable to sun damage, particularly in the earlier stages. 

Not only can the tissue be damaged during the healing phase, but you also have an increased risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. This is where the tissue around the scar overproduces melanin, in a bid to protect your skin. 

The best way to avoid this is to keep your scars covered and, if they are exposed to the sun, ensure you have a factor 50 sunscreen on at all times and reapply regularly. 

Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation does usually go on its own, but it can take a couple of years. There are products that can help speed this up, but as always, prevention is better than cure! 

You can download my Ultimate Scar Guide, by clicking on the button below. There’s lots of helpful advice there. 

Sun damage skin, how to repair it

If you do have sun-damaged skin, then you can follow much of the advice already in this blog. Here are my top 5 tips: 

No.1. Keep your skin hydrated from the inside out and outside in. Use gentle products on your skin, and avoid tight-fitting clothing, to allow the heat to escape. 

No.2. Follow the advice on nutrition above, and you can read my blog on Damaged Skin Barrier, HERE, which has lots of additional information on looking after damaged skin. 

No.3: Vitamin C for the win. I recommend taking SkinVit C by Advanced Nutrition Programme, as it contains high levels of vitamin C and zinc – which are essential for healing. 

No.4. Use products that contain vitamins E and C, to help repair your skin. Also, your sunscreen is more important than ever, when you have sun damaged skin. 

No.5 Using Retinol (vitamin A) can help reduce the appearance of sun damage by boosting cell turnover and increasing collagen production. However, do NOT use this in the early stages of recovery, allow your skin to heal for 28 days before introducing retinol. You can use retinol on the face and body. 

If you’d like to know more about medical-grade skincare that can help with sun damage, click on the button below. 

Sun damage skin, it's a wrap!

I really hope that you found my blog on sun damaged skin helpful. If you would like some help with your skin, then please get in touch. I know it can be confusing, with all of the different advice available out there. The truth is, that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ answer, as so many factors affect your skin.  I always work with my clients from the inside out, and outside in – to ensure you get the best possible results. 

I offer remote services, as well as clinical treatments. My aesthetics clinic is based in Alton, Hampshire. I’m on the Hampshire/Surrey border, just 15 minutes from Basingstoke and Farnham, and I’m at the end of a direct train line from London Waterloo. 

If you have any questions, please let me know. 

And, if you haven’t taken my Skin Quiz yet, then click on the button below to take it. It’s fun, takes less than 4 minutes, and you’ll get immediate access to personalised results. 


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