The sun is responsible for much of what many people assume is normal aging: wrinkles, sagging, discoloration, and dullness. Over time, the sun has a big, big impact on the way our skin looks and feels.
The very best way to minimize sun damage is to prevent as much of it as you can in the first place. Everyday exposure adds up quickly, so focus daily on often-exposed areas like your face, hands, and chest. On sunny vacations and during outdoor workouts, we tend to expose more of the body for a longer time, so it’s important to be vigilant when planning for those occasions with plenty of clean sunscreen, too.
A consistent, clean skin-care routine that incorporates exfoliants, antioxidants, and nourishing moisture can help ameliorate the effects of sun damage, leaving skin revitalized and more fresh, smooth, even, and radiant no matter what your age.
Sunscreen can make a huge difference; the standard dermatologist recommendation is to wear SPF 30 or higher, every day.
Why we insist on Clean mineral sunscreen: Clean sunscreen made with only mineral sunscreens (the active ingredient list should include nothing other than titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide) creates a protective layer on your skin, similar to the way clothing can block the sun’s rays from reaching the skin. Unlike chemical sunscreens which absorb the sun’s rays, mineral sunscreens reflect the sun’s rays away from skin. Minerals soothe skin (zinc oxide is what baby-bottom cream is made with), while chemical sunscreens are among the most irritating chemicals in the beauty industry. And while chemical sunscreens degrade in sunlight, mineral ones do not. A good rule of thumb is if a sunscreen’s harder to rub in, it’s probably mineral. And those extra few seconds of blending it into your skin are more than worth it.
Beyond sunscreen, wear hats and long sleeves when it’s feasible, stick to the shade in general, and limit your sun exposure. And if you ever end up with a sunburn, take some aspirin right away to help prevent further damage as it soothes the burn.
Dead skin cells turn over less frequently, which makes it more difficult for everything from moisture to treatment ingredients to reach the fresh skin underneath. Whether you do it with a physical exfoliant, like a scrub or a washcloth, or a chemical one, like an alpha hydroxy acid or a fruit enzyme, sweeping away those dead skin cells reinvigorates skin and paves the way for repair.
3. SUPERCHARGE WITH ANTIOXIDANTS
Free radicals from sun, pollution, and other environmental aggressors damage skin. Antioxidants are compounds that fight the formation of free radicals, helping prevent some of the damage caused by the sun. There are many antioxidant ingredients, including vitamins C and E, retinol, and CoQ10. Some antioxidants can work both topically and internally—vitamin C is a particularly popular and useful one—so taking the best care of your skin should be a multifaceted endeavor. Plants are naturally full of antioxidants, so eating lots of fruits and vegetables is important; supplementing and using plant-based skin care are both brilliant adjuncts.
Well-hydrated skin not only looks and feels healthier; it’s also less vulnerable to breaking down in the face of environmental assaults. Keep your skin fresh and supple with a consistent supply of moisture.
5. TREAT YOUR BODY, TOO
Exfoliating, moisturizing, and protecting your body skin can help prevent sun damage from affecting it, too. Moisturizers made with antioxidants are especially good for skin, leaving it hydrated, comfortable, and glowy.