If we compare our complexions to European visitors of the same age, it’s almost inevitable that their skin will look more even, less blotchy and more youthful than ours. That’s the price we have to pay for living in a gloriously sunny country – unless we can play the sun protection game like pros.
We sustain most of our sun damage before 18, playing outdoors and doing sport, something which we carry on doing if we’re outdoor types or enthusiastic sportspeople.
Years of constant exposure will eventually leave their mark; the damage is cumulative and it ends up written on our skin as premature ageing. 80% of those lines, loss of elasticity, freckles, darker pigmentation blotches, coarsened texture and enlarged pores, sallowness, redness and so on is due to environmental damage.
Most of that is from sun exposure. If you don’t believe us, just compare the texture and appearance of skin that isn’t exposed to the sun like the inside of your arm or your breast area (covered by your bikini top) to the backs of your arms and chest, areas that do get regular exposure to the sun. But before you become despondent, know that there is a lot that can be done to repair damage and to give you healthier, better-looking skin.
For the most immediate and intensive results, professional procedures and treatments done at the skin-care clinic, including photo-rejuvenation treatments and exfoliation treatments such as Fraxel, Pearl™ laser, Limelight™, Photo Genesis and various chemical peeling options (from Obagi, Lamelle and Neostrata, etc.), mean that almost every person can reverse a substantial amount of this damage, depending on the area of the body and their personal profile.
DIY – your at-home solutions
For home use we recommend topical treatments (skin creams) containing researched and proven technologies against pigmentation and sun damage, such as AHA’s and retinoids (vitamin A). These are potent active ingredients that break down existing pigmentation and prevent new pigmentation from forming. Among these well-researched and well-known products are: Obagi NuDerm, Neostrata Enlighten, Lamelle Luminesce, SkinCeuticals Advanced Pigment Corrector and Mesoestetics Cosmelan/Dermamelan, to name just a few.
Reversing signs of sun damage
You need to give your skin all the nutrients it needs to fight free-radical damage and boost collagen and elastin production. SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic or Phloretin CF, and Resveratrol B E are all potent antioxidants that fight free-radical damage.
Obagi Nu Derm System is a whole skin regimen kit that works together to tackle sun damage.
Lamelle’s Nourish range has a patented formula that works directly to target DNA damage in skin cells, signalling effective repair to DNA.
We also need to be constantly vigilant about other, even more serious effects of sun damage to our skin. If you see any suspicious moles or skin areas that don’t heal, please consult your doctor immediately.