If you are willing to go the extra mile – yes, it can be undone. Not 100% percent – but back to a level where you love your skin, and don’t feel you have to cover up the damage.
And the good news is, it doesn’t involve expensive salon treatments or cosmetic treatments such as laser, or harsh peels or retinol treatments, you can do it all at home, and you don’t need to stay out of the sun to achieve it! (Well within reason – but we will go there later)
Sun damage although it comes from outside needs to be treated from the inside first and foremost, before sorting the surface damage.
Although most sun damage occurs when we are younger due to lack of sun protection, too much sun baking, not wearing a hat, always being in or on the water – in truth – having a wonderful time all round!
It doesn’t start to show till later on in life as we start to age due to loss of collagen, cells not renewing themselves as efficiently as before.
The first sign of sun damage is your skin starts to look very dry and very red. Pigmentation starts to occur – and this all worsens as we age.
Many women (including myself) find themselves looking at the damage worsening post menopause because the loss of hormones slows collagen production and elastin production down. Cellular renewal all round slows down.
But the side effects of the sun really start to show themselves in your late 30s – and this is the time to start dealing with it as it will make managing it later easier.
Missed that boat? No worries – you can still get your skin looking good!
We need to hydrate the cells.
The cells need moisture to function – not only the skin cells, but all of your cells in your body. The skin is our largest organ – and being an organ, needs to be treated like all the other organs with care.
Start off by drinking enough water.
- Clean filtered water is the best, or aerated sparkling water which is only water and nothing else – like the water from a soda stream for example.
- 2 – 3 litres daily depending on how hot it is and how much you sweat. The bigger/taller you are the more water you need to drink.
- Add chlorophyll drops or liquid to your water – starting off at 10 drops or 10 MLs per day – and take it up to 20 drops or 20 MLs. Chlorophyll detoxifies the body, removing waste and cleaning the blood, lymphatics, liver, and gut.
Chlorophyll comes from the green in the plants – most forms of liquid chlorophyll are made from mulberry leaves, or alfalfa.
We need to grease the cells
Well not really – but we need to increase the body’s omega fatty essential fatty acid levels.
Omegas are the good fats which are essential for a healthy diet, and critical for many bodily functions.
We need these good fats to support neurological health, hormone production, and reproduction, balance cholesterol levels, support our immune system, brain, and eyes.
And they moisturise and heal the skin from inside.
Omegas are broken up into 3 categories – Omega 3, 6 & 9.
Most nutritionists recommend eating meat, eggs and fish to source most of these omegas – but I personally prefer to choose plant-based sources for ethical reasons – but also because our bodies assimilate plant-based proteins and omega’s more efficiently than animal-based sources.
And to be honest – it is so much easier to do!
In this article I am not going to go into great depth about omegas, but which ones are the best to consume to heal the sun damage to the skin.
My favourite source of omegas 3,6 & 9 is Flaxseed oil. Not flaxseeds, but the oil – to get enough oil out of the flaxseeds you would have to eat 1 kilo per day.
Flaxseed Oil is important for whole body nutrition and is considered to be nature’s richest source of omega-3 fatty acids.
Besides containing omega’s 3,6 & 9 it also contains B vitamins, potassium, lecithin, magnesium, fibre, protein, and zinc and also provides approximately 50% more omega-3 oils than what you could get from taking fish oil, minus that horrible “fishy” after taste.
And it is vegetarian and vegan.
It also helps clear acne, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, and dry skin.
It also repairs acne scars over time.
You can add flaxseed oil to your morning smoothie, as a salad dressing or just take it as a supplement – 6 capsules per day.
Avocados everyone’s favourite (nearly) are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, I recommend you eat ½ of one of these every day – easier to do in summer in a salad – although everyone loves avocado on toast! (Gluten free of course).
Hemp seed oil contains omegas 3 & 6 in well balanced amounts, you can add this to your smoothie, or as a salad dressing.
Another favourite source of omega’s for me is Spirulina and Chlorella. They are a highly concentrated source of essential fatty acids
Spirulina and chlorella are microscopic freshwater plants containing over 100 Synergistic nutrients. Basically, they are natural vitamin tablets.
But they are better than any vitamin tablet you can take because they are an unrefined whole food so absorbed up to 16x more effectively than multivitamin supplements!
Gram for gram they are one of nature’s richest and most complex sources of nutrition.
They are one of nature’s richest sources of protein – 65% of their weight, 300 x more than fish, meat or poultry but with zero cholesterol, which makes them a brilliant protein source for vegans and vegetarians and those wanting to consume a high protein diet or bolster their collagen levels.
They contain 58 x more iron than spinach per gram and 28 x richer than raw beef liver. They are a rich natural whole-food source of antioxidants, being 25% richer in beta-carotene than carrots. 2 x richer in chlorophyll than alfalfa, barley grass or wheatgrass so more cleansing to the body because of these plants.
They are a highly concentrated source of essential fatty acids (EFA’s)
They contain important B complexes and natural vitamin E, along with Calcium, and other essential chelated minerals and trace elements. They also contain Selenium, Iodine, Methionine, Cysteine, Super Oxide Dismutase, Glutathione Peroxides, Copper, Manganese, Zinc, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5, B-6, and very importantly B12.
The difference between Spirulina and Chlorella is that the cell wall on chlorella is thicker and harder to break down than spirulina which is why it is more expensive – but both of them are equally as good.
You can never have too many omega fatty acids in your diet – and no – it won’t make you fat, especially not flaxseed oil or spirulina or chlorella as all of them are known for assisting weight loss.
Eat your skin glowy
Besides drinking more water and improving your omega intake – it is really important to avoid eating inflammatory foods. These foods not only cause inflammation in the body, they also cause inflammation in the skin.
Inflammatory foods are:
Processed foods – this includes ham, nut bars, shop bought cakes.
And any food you are sensitive to.
Foods that make your skin glow are:
Leafy greens – lettuce, silverbeet, kale, spinach
Pumpkin seeds – actually any seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds etc.
Soy milk (I personally only recommend Bonsoy as it is correctly fermented)
Tomatoes (unless you are sensitive to these)
Seafood – fish is best – but all other seafood is still good
Free range (organic) eggs (best are those bought from the side of the road – small homestead farms)
Sprouts of all kinds
Fresh fridge pickles
Nuts – almond, walnut, brasil, cashew, hazelnut
Supplements to help:
Flaxseed oil as I mentioned earlier
Spirulina or Chlorella powder or tablets – if you are vegan or vegetarian, you need to take a higher dose than that which is recommended on the packaging to help with protein intake.
Amino acids – I recommend these over Collagen powder only because amino acids are the building blocks of collagen, but they also provide health benefits above and beyond collagen production. Amino acids support the breakdown of foods in the gut, help to repair tissue, improve athletic performance, regulate mood, and so much more.
Whilst a collagen supplement powder only treats the skin’s needs – and as I mentioned before healthy body equals healthy skin.
Sun damaged skin is usually dry, thickened and feels leathery in most cases. This is because it has become extremely dehydrated, and the cells are all flat and damaged. The best way to counteract this is to increase hydration through moisture as well as oil.
The next step is to exfoliate the dead surface skin cells to allow the skincare to reach the plump lower cells – although they are often not plump anymore – just a little less dehydrated and flat – but over time with the correct treatment, these cells will become fuller and plumper – and with ongoing care from inside and out, will heal themselves.
Cleanse twice daily with an oil cleanser which is 100% oil– not one with a soap base which washes off under the shower – use one such as the Everything Skin Oil, remove with a face washer or muslin cloth and warm water. You can do this under the shower.
Make sure you cleanse your facial skin all of the way down to your breasts, and even cleanse them – the girls get dirty too especially if you perspire or sweat because of the rubbing up against your bra. The regular massaging with help keep them firm – or improve their firmness if you have lost a lot of elasticity – the skin will become healthier looking and softer over time with care.
Oil cleansers do not give you pimples because they effectively remove all of the dirt build up in your skin – including oil and sebum – it will even break down the blackheads in your nose!
Moisturise with a hydrating moisturiser to increase the moisture content in your skin – from the tip of your forehead to under your breasts twice daily – ideally the moisturiser should also repair and protect your surface layer to help your cells become plump and hydrated over time such as the Everything Skin Cream.
Once you do this twice daily – no excuses – you will notice your skin improving within a short period of time.
Do this alone for 2 weeks – then week 3 start exfoliating. No harsh scrubs, just a gentle mask. Even a gentle facial scrub just won’t cut it – you need to use an enzyme mask to loosen and ‘eat’ the dead skin cells such as a Mini Enzyme Mask.
Avoid an Alpha Hydroxy Acid Peel at this stage – you can use a Lactic Acid Peel which will not only exfoliate but hydrate the skin after 6 weeks for an added boost if you feel you need more help such as the Lactic Acid Peel from Clear Skin Clinics, but most people find the enzyme mask used twice weekly – again all over the face, neck decolletage and breasts.
If you suffer from pigmentation – this treatment will help, but if it keeps on looking dark and unattractive read this blog post on pigmentation treatment. If you only have a few spots – then I recommend you start by just applying a pigmentation cream such as John Plunkets Superfade just on the spots.
Light therapy is an ideal treatment for sun damage. It stimulates the cells to function at their optimal best. You can do this as a salon treatment or do these at home.
One of the problems with the salon treatments and the at home treatments is that they all only treat the face – not the decolletage, unless you have the money to buy a super expensive one. You can also buy one such as Hello Silky which are often on sale, and use the neck one on the decolletage as well as the neck.
Another option is – and this one I would recommend if you have lost a lot of elasticity in your skin – it uses light and RF (radio frequency) to regenerate the skin called a Rejuvenation wand by Lux Skin, you can use this wherever you feel needs work that day! It’s not a miracle wand – it will take daily treatments up to 3 weeks to see a change.
Protect yourself from the sun to prevent pigmentation marks from appearing or getting worse. Avoid the sun when its rays are the most dangerous, that is, between 10 am and 3 pm.
Choose your photoprotection carefully. I recommend a BB or CC cream because it is a makeup and will protect you all day – sunscreen needs to be reapplied every 2 hours otherwise. But another problem with sunscreen is that it is extremely drying to the skin – so you are undoing all of the great work hydrating and exfoliating.
I like CC creams best because they don’t look like makeup and can easily be applied to the decolletage when it is exposed – my favourite is Curtis Collection CC cream.
If you are home, keep your skin free of sunscreens and venture out before 10 am and after 3pm to ensure you get a good dose of much needed vitamin D which is blocked by using sunscreen.
If you feel you would like more advice – book in a glowing skin consultation with me!
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