As much as we enjoy a daily dose of sunshine, we need to protect our skin against potential harmful effects thus a healthy skincare routine needs SPF. Often, sun damage is a cumulative, slow burning (literally) set of skin issues that only become apparent towards the beginning of fall. OK, so you’ve been applying sunblock and wearing protection all summer. But if you haven’t been zealous enough, chances are you’re experiencing some post-summer skin crankiness right now. Not just burns and tan lines, but a whole variety of symptoms that point to your skin having suffered from UV damage and its associated issues.
All sunburn starts with sun exposure. The time it takes to develop a sunburn depends on a number of factors, such as the temperature, the sun’s position in the sky, and your skin’s sensitivity to UV rays.
style="font-weight: 400;">Sun-damaged skin is a dermis with damaged DNA as a result of exposure to UV radiation from the sun. This DNA damage can cause skin cells to have trouble renewing themselves, leading to reduced density and increased skin aging. Or, in some cases, to renew too quickly (which can lead to skin cancer). There are a ton of secondary symptoms associated with sun-damaged skin, which we’ll get to below. Another immediate sign of sun damage in the skin can be seen as soon as you step out of the sun. Inspect skin in a well-lit mirror directly after sun exposure, focusing on the forehead, nose, and cheeks. If you can see an increased amount of freckling, that means you’ve got sun damaged skin. The appearance of freckles is your skin’s defensive response to ultraviolet rays, where it pushes melanin to the surface to protect itself.
Phase 1: Burn
After that initial exposure, sunburn will show up about 2 hours later. At this point, your skin cells on the surface create an inflammatory response to alert your immune system of a potential injury, hence the red, irritated skin we tend to get when sunburned.
Phase 2: Sore, Burning Skin
While a fresh sunburn might not hurt within that first hour, you may experience intensified soreness and stinging within the first day, typically within 6 hours. At this point, sunburned skin may be especially sensitive to heat, which is especially uncomfortable when taking a hot shower or bath. In some cases, blisters may additionally develop in this phase, which work to protect the delicate surface tissue as it heals.
Phase 3: Peeling
After about 2 days, the pain caused by your sunburn should be mostly gone. However, as the skin heals, it’s normal for peeling to occur for a few days. During the period, the damaged skin cells shed off of the dermis to give way to new ones. When showering or washing your face, make sure that you’re using 1) lukewarm or cool water and 2) a body wash that’s suited for sensitive skin. Unfortunately, most body washes on the market are made with sodium lauryl sulphate, which is extremely stripping on the skin’s barrier.
Phase 4: Hydrate Peeling Skin
If your sunburn starts the peeling process, it may be tempting to pick off or exfoliate the dead skin – but try to resist! Picking or scrubbing the skin can irritate your sunburn even more, slowing down the healing process. Instead, focus on treating it with some topical anti-inflammatory and hydrating products. Once again, good old aloe vera makes a great choice, but a gentle moisturizer is also fantastic for sunburn.
Hydrate & Cool Down
Once you’re back inside and out of the sun’s rays, this is when your sunburn will become noticeable. Since sunburn is an inflammatory reaction to the sun’s UV rays, treat exposed skin as you would any other skin experiencing redness and inflammation. Take extra measures to cool down by relaxing in front of a fan or hopping into a quick, cold shower. That’s why it’s important that you drink lots of water, because adequate hydration is necessary for skin to heal. Since it draws these fluids from your body, you can run the risk of dehydration if you’re not replenishing them.
Treat Your Sun Damage:
The most obvious immediate signs of sun damaged skin, of course, are burns and tans. When your skin is exposed to UV radiation from the sun, skin cells become damaged at the cellular level and DNA begins to mutate. The body’s natural response is to dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow to the affected area – which in turn leads to irritation, redness, and sensitivity. In the case of a tan, when cells begin to experience damage due to UV exposure, one of their protective mechanisms is to produce more melanin (responsible for the darkening of your skin tone) in order to attempt to protect your skin from further damage. If you’re starting to tan, it means that sun-damaged skin is already an issue you’re dealing with.
A Brightening Cleanser:
Sun damage can make your skin look dull and lacklustre—which is why a brightening cleanser that encourages cell turnover is the perfect way to start your A.M. and P.M. skin care routine. Mystique Earth Bubble Facial Cleanser has an AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) to exfoliate the dead skin and a BHA (beta hydroxy acid) to clean out deep pores and exfoliate to leave your face smoother and brighter.
A Collagen-Boosting Antioxidant Serum:
When it comes to countering sun damage, vitamin-C serums pack a one-two punch, offering both protective and corrective benefits.Vitamin C is best known for its collagen-boosting effect, and for protecting the skin barrier against free-radical sun damage. It is also a skin brightener with the ability to improve the skin tone and texture.Use Mystique Earth Youth Concentrate Serum to deliver professional-level protection and results. Apply in the morning after cleansing your skin.
A Moisturizer to Keep Skin Hydrated:
Sun damage can change the way your skin looks. But it can also change the way it feels and functions, particularly when it comes to hydration. Sun damage, over time, decreases the skin’s ability to hold in moisture by breaking down the natural hyaluronic acid that attracts and holds water in your skin.For this reason, a moisturizer—used both A.M. and P.M.—is an absolute must. Mystique Earth Silk Serum Lotion helps replenish skin’s moisture barrier, as well as a host of botanical ingredients (including plant stem cells and a natural retinol alternative) to fight the visible signs of premature aging.
A Sunscreen for Everyday Protection:
If you want to prevent sun damage, you need to protect your skin from the sun. And that means wearing sunscreen every day—no exceptions.Sunscreen is imperative for preventing photoaging and skin cancer. Always look for a broad spectrum [sunscreen, which] protects the skin from UVA and UVB, with an SPF of 30 or higher. To get the best protection, apply your SPF as the last step of your daytime skin care routine, and reapply periodically throughout the day.
A Treatment to Boost Cellular Turnover
Night-time is the best time to repair your skin. When you are sleeping, your cells are renewing. Yournight-time skincare routine should contain ingredients which will facilitate cell turnover to give your skin the perfect morning glow. One of the most common signs of sun damage is dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Mystique Earth Night Revival Cream is packed with ingredients to help lighten dark spots and even out skin tone while you sleep. It contains lactic, kojic and L-ascorbic acids that exfoliate, protect and repair the skin while providing an overall more even skin tone.Use this treatment in the evening after cleansing and before moisturizer, for 2-3 nights at a time when your skin needs a boost (it’s not for daily use).