Apparently, summer is on its way out, and yet again the Middle Eastern swelter seems to have missed the memo just as it did last year, and the year before and so on. Even though the holiday season is over, this region’s everlasting state of summer is reason enough to be bouncing from beaches to brunches all year round. But could that be leaving a lasting mark on your skin?
A lifetime spent in the Arabian sun can potentially have long-term effects on your skin due to lingering sun damage despite our special knack for slathering ourselves in sunscreen. According to dermatologists, the most common forms of sun damage are sun spots, sunburns and dry skin. Lucky for you, we’ve looked to the experts and found out exactly how to tackle each. You’re welcome.
Sun Spots Begone
We hate to break it to you, but just about anyone can get sun spots. Usually a natural defence mechanism against UV rays, the body amps up melanin production causing hyperpigmentation, or sun spots to appear. However, according to Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D., "If you have good sun habits, you’ll get fewer dark spots than if you don’t.” (So yet another reason to slather on the SPF every day). While sunscreen does help prevent the formation of sun spots, the effects of sun exposure differ for each person.
In order to fade sun spots, you can add clinically proven brightening agent, Vitamin C, to your daily skincare routine. Although the effects aren’t immediate, long-term use of the hard-hitting antioxidant is sure to do away with most hyperpigmentation.
Banish that Sunburn
If anything fast-tracks the signs of ageing and risk of skin cancer, it’s a sunburn. Maybe you slumbered in the sun for a little too long or you forgot to apply your SPF “once or twice”- whatever the reason, a painful sunburn is a powerful reminder to not let your efforts fall short again. As for how best to help your skin recuperate from the effects of overexposure, i.e. redness, swelling, and long-term damage? Moisturise. Obsessively.
“There’s good data to suggest that supple skin recovers faster from trauma,” says Elizabeth K Hale, M.D., who adds that creams with antioxidants, such as vitamins C and E, are especially beneficial post-sun allies.
Soothe Dry Skin
Even if you’ve been lucky enough to escape any visible burns or sun spots, you may still have had your skin’s natural moisture depleted. Exposure to sun causes skin to gradually lose moisture, making for a dry and dull complexion. That’s why experts recommend gentle exfoliants like lactic acid. "You want to exfoliate to get rid of the dead layer of skin cells," says Dr. Mark. And for the over-zealous exfoliators between us, "If you develop dryness, redness, or inflammation then you definitely need to dial it back.” Following exfoliation, with the upper layers of your skin being parched, it is recommended to reinstate your barrier function with products that contain lipids, like ceramides.