How do UV rays affect my skin?
Sun and how it affects the skin barrier
How to treat sun sensitised skin
As the season shifts and the weather warms up, we may find ourselves spending more time outside and at the beach. Whilst we may have good intentions about protecting our skin, we may still wind up with sun stressed, sensitised skin, especially as we re-adjust to new climate conditions and re-implement summer safe skincare practices.
how do UV rays affect my skin?
Although UV rays are invisible to the naked eye, they cause significant skin damage. There are two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB rays. Both are drivers of skin cancer, but UVA rays are experienced all year round at the same level and do deep skin damage to our collagen and elastin – think accelerated lines and wrinkles. UVB rays spike during the warmer months and cause damage to the upper layers of the skin in the form of burning. Being the first line of defence, our skin barrier, quite literally, feels the heat from UVB rays.
Did you know that not all sunscreens protect against both UVA and UVB rays? Legally, they must only protect against UVB rays. Dermalogica sunscreens are broad spectrum, meaning they protect against both types of rays.
sun and how it affects the skin barrier
It’s no overstatement to say that the the skin barrier – often also referred to as the ‘moisture barrier’ or ‘lipid barrier’ – is the unsung hero of healthy-looking skin: it works as a protective layer, keeping hydration in and irritants out. The first indication of barrier damage from the sun is inflammation and a throbbing heat sensation. The skin will then start to lose moisture and hydration, which will be apparent with a feeling of tightness. Sometimes, you may experience skin peeling – this is body’s way of getting rid of the damaged cells that are at risk of "losing control" and becoming cancerous. In short, sun damage and sunburn equals an unhealthy skin barrier.
how to treat sun sensitised skin
If you experience sensitised skin post sun exposure, you need to focus on skin barrier recovery. Avoid heat sources, this includes hot showers, and focus on cooling and calming the skin. You’ll want to keep your skincare routine simple and park your active products until your skin barrier has repaired, such as Retinoids, Vitamin C and Hydroxy Acids.
Instead, focus on lightweight cooling skincare that contains ingredients that reduce inflammation and restore the skin barrier – for example: Hyaluronic Acid, Oats and soothing botanicals including Aloe Vera and Apple Fruit Extract.
Here's our three-step regimen for restoring and healing a sun stressed skin
- PREP: UltraCalming Cleanser - A pH balanced, non-foaming cleanser that cools and calms the skin. This unique gel-cream based cleanser contains redness reducing Oats, cooling Cucumber and soothing Lavendar. Can be used directly over the eyes. PRO Tip: Simply tissue off if skin is too sensitised to tolerate water.
- TREAT: UltraCalming Serum Concentrate - Our exclusive UltraCalming™ formula, infused with Oat and potent botanicals, soothes, and restores delicate skin. Nourishing oils from Evening Primrose, Sunflower Seed, and Avocado mimic barrier lipids to replenish and restore a healthy barrier function. PRO Tip: Be sure to shake this serum before applying, to ensure the water and oil -based ingredients are mixed well prior to application.
- GLOW: Calm Water Gel and Invisible Physical Defense SPF30 Moisturiser is critical to protect skin from environmental assault and sunscreen should be worn daily to prevent UV damage. Featuring Aloe Vera Leaf Juice and Hyaluronic Acid, Calm Water Gel provides instant and long-lasting hydration, whilst shielding from environmental damage. Follow this with Invisible Physical Defence SPF30 in your morning regimen. This mineral based sunscreen is packed with antioxidants, Hyaluronic Acid and soothing botanicals that help reduce UV-induced redness and dryness. It’s blends easily on the skin and reflects damaging UV rays without leaving a white cast. PRO Tip: Keep Calm Water Gel in the fridge for extra skin cooling and calming.
If your skin is severely sensitised by the sun, then initially, just apply a lightweight gel-based moisturiser containing Aloe Vera. As skin starts to heal, you can incorporate more products. Drinking plenty of water is also critical to recovery from sun damage.
Invest in professional skincare
Along with a calming skincare routine, a professional skin treatment can also support in soothing, calming, and promoting a healthy skin barrier, not to mention, you’ll experience a professional skin assessment and expert advice.
Dermalogica’s PRO Calm is a professional skin treatment that takes a personalised approach to treating skin sensitivity. Professional grade soothing formulas, healing LED light therapy and breathing and acupressure techniques synergistically address skin irritation, redness and dryness for a happier, more hydrated and healthy skin. It’s an antidote for sun irritated skin and an ideal treatment to support your skin during the Summer months.
Our top tips for sun safety and keeping skin calm this summer:
- Find a sunscreen that you're happy with so you'll wear it every day - many of our sunscreens are also moisturisers, saving you a step in your skincare routine.
- Avoid advanced resurfacing treatments or peels before a day of prolonged sun exposure - you may be best to switching to using these at night in the Summer.
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to sun exposure.
- Use half a teaspoon of sunscreen for the face, ears and front and back of neck.
- Reapply your sunscreen every two hours.
- Don't forget to apply sunscreen to bald heads, thinning scalps, the chest, arms and hands - they all need protecting too!
- Seek shade in the hottest part of the day (11am-3pm)
- Sunscreen shouldn't be the only form of protection - cover up and wear sunglasses and a hat too!