Although a day spent at the beach may be filled with lots of fun, there’s no denying that exposure to the sun can cause unwanted skin damage, especially if you forget to reapply SPF throughout the day. “Both intense intermittent sun exposure (think family holidays in the summer when you were younger) and chronic sun exposure produce changes in the skin that causes sun damage,” says Kathleen Cook Suozzi, a Yale Medicine dermatologic surgeon and director of Aesthetic Dermatology.
Suozzi also points out that both forms of sun exposure can lead to photoaging, which forms premature signs of aging including wrinkles and sunspots. In fact, researchers at Yale have shown that DNA damage continues for hours after UV exposure.
But you should also know that there are easy ways to help your skin bounce back after a day out in the sun. We asked dermatologists to share their best aftercare tips for sunburns, wrinkles, and sunspots.
Cool your skin and treat the initial discomfort
“Make sure you help your skin cool down with cold showers, cold cloth compresses, and cool aloe vera-based skin gels,” says Dr. Sheel Desai-Solomon, a board-certified dermatologist. If you notice a heightened inflammation in the sun-exposed regions of your skin, an anti-inflammatory may also help, she suggests.
To help cool down inflamed skin, we recommend storing a fast-acting cooling gel, such as the KORRES After Sun Greek Yoghurt Cooling Gel for Face and Body, in the fridge to provide immediate comfort to irritated, sunburnt skin.
Hydrate and moisturize
“Always remember to consume lots of water after sun exposure,” Dr. Desai-Solomon says. Sunburns tend to dry us out and steam the moisture out of our bodies, making it crucial to drink enough fluids throughout the day.
Invest in retinol products
“Preventing sun damage is far more effective than erasing it,” Cook Suozzi explains. Topical retinoid treatments can help fight the appearance of fine lines and decrease pigmentation, she explains. If you are looking for a retinol that can stand up against sun damage, we suggest the Sunday Riley A+ High-Dose Retinol Serum because it uses a stabilized retinoid blend to promote clearer-looking skin.
Try chemical peels
“Chemical peels can help to remove scaly, sun-damaged patches and even out skin tone,” says board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse. Gentle peels will leave skin with a two-day to three-day glow while stronger ones will leave you pink or flaking for up to a week.
If you are eager to try a gentle peel at home, try the Volition Beauty Apple Cider Vinegar Resurfacing Peel Pads. It won’t leave your skin inflamed or irritated as it uses simple ingredients like apple cider vinegar and witch hazel to balance and brighten skin.
Look for skin-lightening agents
“The ingredients in topical masks and night creams that promise to help even out pigmentation patches work by peeling the skin, blocking the enzymes involved in pigment production, and breaking up the actual pigment,” Shainhouse says. “Look for ingredients like hydroquinone, kojic acid, azelaic acid, licorice root, and vitamin C,” she advises.
To bring the power of vitamin C to your skin-care regimen, be sure to tuck the Drunk Elephant C-Firma™ Vitamin C Day Serum in your beauty cabinet. It’s packed with powerful antioxidants, essential nutrients, and fruit enzymes.
“Microneedling (with PRP) is a less expensive way to create acute tissue damage to ultimately trigger new collagen production,” Shainhouse explains. If you don’t have time for an in-office treatment, let the BeautyBio GloPRO® Microneedling Facial Regeneration Tool treat your skin to great benefits at home – it triggers the skin’s regeneration process in just 60 seconds.
Don’t skip out on sunscreen
“Always use a sunscreen with at least an SPF of 30,” suggests board-certified dermatologist Dr. Debra Jaliman. “The biggest sunscreen mistakes I see are failing to reapply sunblock and not using enough sunscreen on the skin.”
If you’re looking for a water and sweat-resistant product that shields both your skin and your hair, be sure to pick up the Clarins Sunscreen Care Oil Spray, which contains the necessary SPF 30.
xx, The FabFitFun Team
Looking for a sunscreen that’s safe for both you and the environment? Check out the best reef-safe sunscreens for eco-friendly SPF protection.