How to Keep Your Skin Safe and Combat Sun Damage
We interviewed Dr. Rita Rakus to find out her top tips to keeping our skin sun safe and how to combat signs of photodamage.
It’s about time the sun made an appearance and as much as we all love a beach holiday soaking in the sun, it’s important to ensure we keep our skin healthy.
“Whilst the tan may fade and your skin appears to return to it’s normal colour the long term damage from prolonged sun exposure can wreak havoc with your skin in later years” – Dr. Rita Rakus
What are the main tell-tell signs that our skin has suffered from sun damage, how to check?
There are various kinds of sun damage, the immediate burnt, blistered skin which appears to heal quite quickly and the prolonged damage that can take years to make its self apparent. There really is no such thing as a healthy tan, the brown colouration is caused by an increase in melanin, the dark pigment within the skin. This dark pigment is produced in an attempt from your skin to protect its self from further damage.
Age spots are and obvious long term sign of sun damage, although they don’t tend to appear until your 30s – they are darker, discoloured areas of skin. The spots should initially be nothing to worry about and just another physical sign of ageing and sun exposure, however, be sure to visit your doctor if you notice any changes in colour or texture of the spots. This advice should also be applied to any moles; any changes in size, texture or colour which can be induced by sun damage and you should consult your doctor.
Another sign of ageing that goes hand-in-hand with sun damage is wrinkles; prolonged exposure to sunlight damages the fibres that prop the skin up to keep it firm causing the skin to appear aged. Prolonged sun exposure can also cause actinic keratoses, which is a condition where areas of the skin appear rough and scaly or develop raised bumps which can be mistaken for warts. The condition is commonly found on the face, neck, arms, hands or ears and can come in a range of colours from pink to brown.
What are the three best ways to keep your skin protected throughout summer?
I would advise trying to stay out of the sun as much as possible between the peak times of 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest
Many people forget to use an SPF in favour of a golden glow, completely forgetting that a week of tanned skin can lead to premature ageing and a lifetime of sun damage. If bronzed skin is a must have, its better to fake it in the long run and protect yourself with a good quality high-factor SPF, if your tan comes from a bottle or a spray, be sure to use an oil free formula to prevent any streaky tan lines.
SPF application should be a vital part of your routine, even when its cold and cloudy. Use a high-factor, broad spectrum SPF daily to protect your face and hands from damage. Many people think of SPFs as thick white creams that sit on the surface of the skin and give you a pasty white cast but there are now a number of products from budget to luxury that absorb beautifully into the skin, providing both moisture and protection, some even incorporate a tint to rival many tinted moisturisers. The Dr Rakus Daily Protect SPF 50 moisturiser is a great alternative to traditional sunscreen application, specifically formulated to keep skin hydrated and protected. With a subtle tint that adapts to any skin tone, the Dr Rakus Daily Protect SPF 50 moisturiser, loved by Melissa Odabash makes a great addition to your morning routine.
Look out for makeup brand with SPF, many foundations, powders, primers and moisturisers offer some protection but be sure not to use these as a substitute for a dedicated SPF product. I would advise trying to stay out of the sun as much as possible between the peak times of 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest or if you have to venture out ensure you wear suitable headwear.
For somebody who has already got sun damage such as sunspots - what can they do?
At our clinic, we offer VISIA skin analysis, which provides an in-depth analysis of the individual facial characteristics giving a unique complexion profile and highlights any existing sun damage, a lot of which is invisible to the naked eye in your younger years but can be a good indication of what will become apparent in later years. This allows individuals to check the status of their skin and how to prepare it for the summer months.
I would suggest a Fraxel or Obagi Nu-Derm for anyone suffering from the physical effects of sun damage. Fraxel treatment acts by using a laser wavelength to treat pigmentation and signs of ageing on the entire body with minimal discomfort. Ensuring superior results, the treatment smooths the skins surface giving fresher looking skin and clearance of unwanted pigmentation. During the treatment, the laser safely penetrates the skin down to the dermis without breaking the skin’s protective outer barrier. This results in the natural stimulation of new collagen without the fear of prolonged downtime and the risks associated with ablative treatments. The downtime is minimal with the only side effects of the treatment being the skin having a bronze appearance for up to a week after and dry skin which can be masked by use of a moisturiser.
The clinic also offers Obagi Nu-Derm. As you age your skins cell turnover rate slows making the sin more susceptible to signs of aging and sun damage. Obagi Nu-Derm accelerates cellular turnover by penetrating the skin deeply to improve damage in layers of the skin. The treatment improves the skin’s cellular function to help it look and act younger, reducing mottled pigmentation and pushing fresher cells to the surface faster. There are four phases to the treatment with the time in between each phase varying depending on your age, skin type and the level of sun damage. The long term results are nothing short of outstanding with the results becoming noticeable from the first phase and can easily be maintained with the Obagi C-rx Sunguard SPF 50 provided with the treatment which offers continued sun protection making this an ideal summer treatment. This lightweight formula offers broad spectrum protection to ensure you are gifted with younger-looking skin for a lifetime.