Fun fact: UV damage isn't just limited to lobster red sunburns and peeling. UV rays are so powerful they can weaken your skin's protective barrier, leading to early signs of ageing including fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation and age spots.
To make matters worse, sunlight is not the only source of damaging UV rays; blue light emitted from your digital devices, such as laptops and smartphones, is equally harmful (if not worse). You're often exposed to it on a regular, daily basis compared to direct sunlight. Needless to say, UV rays can affect your skin indoors as well as outdoors.
But how exactly do UV rays damage your skin? First and foremost, they can break down the collagen in your skin, a natural protein that keeps it elastic and youthful. Secondly, overexposure to UV rays can cause your skin to overproduce melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its colour, leading to hyperpigmentation.
Fortunately, there are ways to protect your skin from UV damage and reverse its harmful effects (to some extent). Here are two key ways to UV-proof your skin:
1. Prevent UV Damage Before it's Too Late
The most effective way to deal with UV damage is to avoid it in the first place. This means SPF is your best friend! Always go for an SPF30 sunscreen or above, and make sure you’re reapplying every 2 hours, even indoors and on cloudy days––because no sunscreen will last on your skin all day! On top of that, opt for a broad spectrum sunscreen as this will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays.
It's also a good idea to minimise your exposure to the sun as much as possible: seek shade from direct sunlight when you can, and take regular breaks from your laptops and phone screens! Additionally, don't forget a hat and sunglasses when you're stepping outdoors.
2. Reverse UV Damage With These Skincare Ingredients
To be completely honest, it's pretty impossible to completely undo UV damage. However, there are a few ingredients you should incorporate into your skincare routine to minimise the effects of UV light and restore and repair your skin.
The key ingredient you should lookout for in your skincare is Niacinamide. Opt for serums or moisturisers containing this ingredient to boost the natural elasticity in your skin and reduce fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.
Next, get cosy with Retinol (derived from Vitamin A). This ingredient is great at diminishing early signs of ageing by encouraging cell regrowth and stimulating collagen production.
Vitamin C, will also be your best friend when it comes to fighting UV damage. This will work wonders to reduce pigmentation, brighten age spots, and even out your skin tone.
Last but not least, use a gentle chemical exfoliant once or twice a week. This will help buff away dead skin cells, unclog your pores from dirt and impurities, and restore your skin's natural radiance.