SKIN SERIES | Undoing Sun Damage
Confession – I went from summertime sunbather to absolute fanatic about staying out of the sun. Now I wish my conversion was more about health than vanity, but let’s face it, I was afraid of sun damage. Feeling the sun on my exposed skin gave me heart palpitations. Needless to say, when I had my Vitamin D level checked, it was woefully lacking. This is true for most Americans, which gave me pause. Slowly, the idea of strict sun avoidance just didn’t make sense to me. There had to be a reason why humans evolved to rely on the sun (as well as diet) for Vitamin D production. And Vitamin D is absolutely critical for optimal hormone production. So I dug a little deeper and eventually made peace with the sun. I limit my exposure, but freely soak up the rays on my naked arms and legs. And feel no anxiety about it. It’s absolutely liberating. (I found this podcast episode on the topic particularly illuminating. How about that pun action??)
Okay, on to the topic at hand. What can you do about sun damage? Limiting inflammation via diet is a great place to start. Additionally, eliminating foods that tax your liver can help as well. Finally, let’s talk topical support. While I’m a firm believer in an inside out approach, I also know that you can’t ignore the benefits of strategic skin care. The following are my favorite tips and tricks for undoing sun damage:
Manual Exfoliation: Kickstarting cellular renewal is a quick way to more even-toned skin. Imagine lifting those pesky spots up and out! As we age, this process of cellular renewal naturally slows down. Exfoliation picks up the slack by signaling the body to produce new skin cells, while hastening the process of sloughing off the old ones. How much exfoliation is too much? Well, that all depends on you. Sensitive and dry skin types may prefer to exfoliate one time per week or even every other week, while oily, congested skin types can exfoliate up to two to three times per week or even every other or every day.
(1) Heart of Gold Hibiscus Polish
(2) Siam Seas Turmeric & Thanaka Herbal Scrub
(3) de Mamiel Brightening Cleanse & Exfoliate
(4) Leahlani Honey Love 3-in-1
Chemical Exfoliation: For those who avoid manual exfoliation in favor of something a little more gentle, look to acids (fruit, lactic, beta hydroxy) for support. The thought behind chemical exfoliation is the same as manual exfoliation - moving newer, fresher skin cells to the surface. Not sure where to start? Try mixing your clay mask with yogurt, apply a fruit enzyme-based mask, or seek out a nighttime treatment that fosters cellular renewal.
(1) Marie Veronique Probiotic + Exfoliation Mask
(2) Kypris Moonlight Catalyst
(3) MOSS Illumina Decongesting Radiance Concentrate
(4) Marie Veronique Intensive Repair Serum
Vitamins: Vitamins A, C, E, and K are your friends! These skin-care gems will lighten, brighten, and protect your complexion from future damage. Vitamin A makes a particularly effective nighttime treatment, Vitamin C is perfect for daytime use, and Vitamin K will transform those dark under eye circles! Seek out these all-stars in serums, oils, creams, and balms.
(1) Marie Veronique Gentle Retinol Night Serum
(2) Marie Veronique Vitamin C+E+Ferulic Serum
(3) Kypris Antioxidant Dew
(4) de Mamiel Intense Nurture Antioxidant Elixir
Herbs & Essential Oils: Often overlooked and entirely undervalued, certain essential oils and herbs harness amazing healing power. Frankincense, geranium, rose, helichrysum, lavender, and licorice root are exceptionally adept at fading marks, diminishing scars, and generally reducing inflammation. In fact, helichrysum contains the highest known amount of beta diketones, which are reputed to promote the formation of new tissue.
(1) Heart of Gold Penny Lane Luminous Licorice Serum
(2) Siam Seas Twilight BeCalm Skin Serum
(3) Laurel Facial Serum: Anti-inflammatory
(4) Province Apothecary Clear Skin
Don’t feel limited by my product picks. These are products that I personally have experience with and love, but some are quite pricey, so if you have other favorites, by all means use those. Now go outside and enjoy the sun!