Sun Damage Skin

Nikki Chase



Time to read 8 min

A comprehensive guide to protecting your skin from sun damage.

A day at the beach, a hike on the mountain, swimming with your kids, and reading a book in the sun are some of the things that make life delectable.


 Sunburns, crepey skin, and pigmentation that follow are not. That’s without even mentioning the dreaded cancer risk of melanoma! To keep your skin safe we will provide effective strategies to prevent it and discuss various methods to repair sun-damaged skin.


Whether you want to shield your skin from harm or address existing damage, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to maintain healthy, radiant and young skin.

What is Sun Damage?

Sun damage to the skin occurs due to exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. There are two types of UV rays that contribute to sun damage: UVA and UVB.


UVA rays penetrate deep into your skin and cause nasty long-term effects, such as premature ageing and wrinkling.


 UVB rays are responsible for immediate effects like redness, sensitivity, and pain.


Both types of UV rays can lead to skin damage, including sunspots, freckles, dryness, rough texture, and an increased risk of skin cancer. 


What about Vitamin D?

The UVB rays are the ones that promote the process that results in more Vitamin D being produced in your body, which as we all know is pretty important!

 Vitamin D plays a crucial role in promoting the absorption of two minerals (calcium and phosphorus) from the food we eat, aiding in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth.

Additionally, Vitamin D helps in controlling blood calcium levels, which supports healthy muscular and nerve function.

 Furthermore, it helps the immune system and fosters a strong immune response. So how do we find a middle ground in looking after our skin and making sure we have Vitamin D?

Well, did you know that even with sunscreen on, we receive enough UVB rays to create sufficient Vitamin D in the body? This means there are no excuses when going to the beach - you should still lather up. 

Is there such a thing as a healthy tan?

We hate to be the bearers of bad news but, the short answer is no. 

The long answer is a bit more complicated.

Melanin is the molecule in our skin cells and hair cells that give them pigment, making them darker.  Different people have different amounts of melanin in their skin occurring naturally and that is of no health risk whatsoever.

However, when melanin is created in our skin as a response to sun exposure, it signals a more dangerous story. UV rays are known to damage our DNA. When DNA is damaged, all sorts of things can go awry in our bodies, namely cancerous growths being formed.

Our bodies are intuitive as we know – melanin is a thick, dark substance that is formed to protect our DNA. Think of it as a tiny beach umbrella being placed over your sensitive DNA!

 Seems cool right? Well… it also means when you see a tan developing on your skin, it’s basically signaling that DNA is being damaged, and your body is producing melanin to try and slowdown that damage.

Is sun damage worse on your face and decolletage?


The skin on your face and decolletage is super soft and sensitive, and incidentally also ends up being the skin that is exposed to the sun the most frequently. 

These areas are often exposed to the sun's rays without the protective cover of clothing, making them more vulnerable to damage.

The delicate skin on your face is thinner, which means it's prone to premature aging, fine lines, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone caused by the sun.

 The décolletage, or the area between your neck and chest, is equally susceptible. The skin in this region is thinner and has fewer oil glands, making it more prone to sunburn and developing age spots.

Often, we forget to put sunscreen on our chests, which is where we really start to see our age. Not fun at all!

How to Prevent Sun Damage

Luckily for us, there are a couple of ways to prevent dreaded sun damage. Let's take you through them. 



This is an obvious go-to. When you can’t cover up, or you are enjoying a long trip at the beach, sunscreen can help protect your skin. 


We all know we need it, but it can be hard finding the right sunscreen for you.


We recommend spending some time and money finding the perfect sunscreen for you because if you like how it feels, you’ll be far more inclined to reach for it every morning.


When selecting a sunscreen, it is important to consider your skin type and specific needs. 


If you have sensitive skin, choosing a sunscreen labelled as "gentle" or "hypoallergenic" can diminish potential irritations. 


If you have oily or acne-prone skin opt for oil-free or non-comedogenic formulas to avoid clogging pores. 


Additionally, it is essential to check the sunscreen's Sun Protection Factor (SPF), which indicates the level of protection against UVB rays. 


SPF 30 or higher is generally recommended, even though you’ll be able to find SPF 10 on the shelves.


 You could be really cautious and buy SPF 100 sunscreen (yeah, that exists!). 


How much should I apply, and how often?


The recommended volume of sunscreen to apply is about a teaspoon of sunscreen for the face and neck area and approximately a shot glass of sunscreen for the entire body.


 This really does seem like a lot, but has been advised by doctors and aestheticians alike.


 Tinted sunscreen is often diluted with foundation, so try and pay attention to how much actual sun protection you’ll get. 


It is vital to apply sunscreen liberally and evenly to ensure proper coverage.


 Do not forget to cover commonly overlooked areas like the back of the neck, ears, and tops of the feet. If you are having an active day, meaning you’re sweating or swimming, then you’ll need to reapply more frequently.


 Generally, I recommend reapplying every two hours. Be sure to use enough product — about one ounce for your entire body — to achieve the full broad-spectrum protection of the sunscreen.


What are the cons of sunscreen?


Unfortunately, not all cosmetic companies are as focused on the health of their clients as well as the health of the globe. 


Some sunscreens contain two detrimental chemicals that you’ll need to watch out for: oxybenzone and octinoxate. 


You can check the back of the bottle to see if they are in the formulation. 


The two aforementioned chemicals have raised concerns regarding their impact on the environment and coral reefs.


 When washed off during swimming or even when released into water systems when we shower, they can contribute to coral bleaching.


Coral bleaching has a knock-on effect throwing out the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. 


This risk is so well recognized that certain regions and countries have implemented bans or restrictions on sunscreens containing these ingredients in an effort to protect coral reefs.


Choosing mineral-based sunscreens that use zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as active ingredients can be a safer alternative, as they are considered reef-friendly.

Other ways to prevent sun damage:


Besides sunscreen, there are a couple of other ways to prevent sun damage.


  1. Stay out of harsh direct sunlight during the hottest hours of the day. That can look like using an umbrella, staying indoors, purchasing driving gloves to protect your hands or sitting under a tree. 

  2. Update your fashion! Look for clothes that cover your chest and arms, such as lightweight long-sleeved shirts or dresses. Wide-brimmed hats are a classic look, and offer an extra layer of defence against harmful UV rays. 

  3. Don't forget to shield your eyes by wearing sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Not only do they look good but they help protect the delicate skin around your eyes. Say goodbye to those pesky crow’s feet

How to Repair Sun-Damaged Skin

Everything we’ve mentioned paints a bit of a grim picture. 


The good news is that there are ways to repair and rejuvenate sun-damaged skin, so you can restore that youthful glow.


Let's dive into some effective strategies to reverse the effects of sun damage and reclaim your skin's radiance.


  • One of nature's remedies for sun-damaged skin is aloe vera. This soothing plant is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, making it the perfect choice for repairing and calming sun-exposed skin. Our Aloe Vera Gel with Manuka Honey is designed for those days when you’ve forgotten to put on your sunscreen and come home feeling a little burned.


  • Establishing a consistent skincare regimen tailored to sun-damaged skin is crucial. Look for products containing active ingredients like retinol, Vitamin C, and niacinamide. 

  • Retinol, a form of vitamin A, helps stimulate collagen production, which improves skin texture and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

  • Vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, helps fade dark spots and brighten the complexion. 

  • Niacinamide aids in restoring the skin's natural barrier, reducing redness, and improving skin tone. Incorporate these ingredients into your daily skincare routine for optimal results.

  • Speaking of vitamins, nourishing your skin from the inside out is equally important. Load up on foods rich in antioxidants, such as berries, leafy greens, and citrus fruits. Sounds like a delicious smoothie. These foods can help combat free radicals caused by sun damage, supporting the skin's healing process. 

In addition to changing your eating habits, you could consider incorporating supplements like Vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, which can promote skin repair and hydration.

The other popular supplement that helps look after your skin, bones, and joints is collagen powder. It works to help resurrect the cellular structure making the skin firm and bouncy. 

It takes persistence, patience, and a holistic approach to repair the sun's damage.


 You can take significant steps to regain the health and glow of your skin by embracing these tips and tricks.


Keep in mind that prevention is always preferable to treatment. 


Making some minor adjustments to how you spend time in the sun can go a long way in safeguarding your skin.



In our comprehensive guide, we understood sun damage and provided effective strategies to prevent and repair it.


Sun damage, caused by exposure to UV rays, can lead to various skin issues and increase the risk of skin cancer.


Although the sun helps produce Vitamin D, it's still essential to protect your skin with sunscreen.


Despite the desire for a healthy tan, the production of melanin as a response to sun exposure indicates potential DNA damage. We’ve talked about the vulnerability of the face and décolletage to sun damage due to their constant exposure.


Finding the right sunscreen for your skin type is crucial, and mineral-based sunscreens are a reef-friendly alternative. Seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using sunglasses also contribute to sun protection.


To repair sun-damaged skin, we explored several strategies. Aloe vera, with its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, offers soothing relief.


 Establishing a skincare routine tailored to sun-damaged skin is crucial, incorporating ingredients like retinol, Vitamin C, and niacinamide.


 Nourishing the skin from within through a diet rich in antioxidants and supplements like Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and collagen powder can support skin repair. 


We hope you feel more knowledgeable about your skin and its relationship to the sun. 

Nikki Chase

As co-owner Era Organics, Nikki's expertise runs deep. She spends her days immersed in the latest medical studies and scouring trusted websites, ensuring her knowledge reflects the cutting edge of science.

About Nikki Chase