Over-exposed: after sun skin care

Photo: istockphoto.com/Jacob Wackerhausen

Has the end of summer with too much sun and too little sun screen left you feeling the heat? Here are the products you should be slathering on to help you reverse the burn.

"I never burn"
You fell asleep on the beach; you were only walking the dog; it was a cloudy day; you were wearing a hat. Regardless of the excuse, we all know better. A tan may look healthy now, but give it a few years and you'll be wishing for your porcelain complexion back.

Tanned skin is damaged skin
According to Holly Sherrard, Education Manager for The International Dermal Institute in Toronto, by the time we have that first little bit of golden glow, we've already damaged our skin. "UV rays emit free radicals into the skin causing damage to key proteins in the cell walls as well as tissues such as collagen and elastin, says Sherrard. "Wrinkles, pigment spots and worst of all, skin cancer are the result of free radical damage. When the skin is overexposed to the sun, inflammation is present and the immune response has been activated. This is a sign that cell damage and the repair process has already started." Although the damage has already been done, it's not too late to help repair some of the damage. "Antioxidants will help prevent further damage to cells by donating extra electrons to the free radicals which are damaging skin cells," says Sherrard.

Vitamins to the rescue
Joshua Onsyko, Founder and CEO of Pangea Organics, recommends Vitamin A to help reverse the signs of sun damage. "Sun damage, also known as Photoaging, is a somewhat fancy word for premature aging due to over-exposure to the sun. The most natural way to reverse the effects of sun damaged skin is the intake of Vitamin A, both topically and internally. The rawest and most natural source will provide the best results," says Onsyko.

Onsyko suggests looking for products that contain argan oil, from the argania tree, also known as the Moroccan ironwood tree. The thorny evergreen tree native to southwestern Morocco is grown for its plum-sized fruits, which contain the highly-esteemed oil. "Argan oil is very emollient and rich in naturally occurring antioxidants such as flavonoids and tocopherols which have anti-inflammatory properties. Its anti-aging and skin restructuring properties coupled with a high vitamin A and vitamin E content make it a wonderful skin product ingredient," says Onsyko.

Soothe yourself
Here are a few sun-soothing products that will help take the red out:

  • Pangea Organics Italian Red Mandarin with Rose cream regenerates and nurtures and contains no synthetic ingredients. Not only is it great for your skin, but the hip packaging is cleverly embedded with organic seeds. Soak it in water, plant it and in no time at all you'll be tending organic herbs like sweet basil. $29
  • Turn over a new leaf with Juice Beauty's Green Apple peel, a powerful hydroxy acid complex of certified organic apple, lemon, grape juices, raw cane sugar and white willow bark exfoliates and brightens for visibly improved skin tone and texture. Vitamin antioxidants and essential nutrients hydrate and nourish skin for a healthy, beautiful complexion. $39
  • Organic online apothecary LoveLula.com's Kimberly Sayer Tangerine & Calendula Healing Light Organic night cream balances, detoxifies, soothes and helps even out skin tone, reducing the appearance of dark marks and sun damage. $49
  • Kiss My Face After Sun Soother contains jewelweed and yucca, powerful antioxidants, that provide extra moisture, anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant properties. $6
  • Restore skin's radiance, suppleness and moisture with a powerful blend of ingredients and anti-oxidants including Vitamins A and E. Honest to Goodness Anti-Oxidant Face serum gel blends natural ingredients to help restore the youthful appearance of your face without harsh chemicals, dangerous toxins or synthetic preservatives. $9.99
  • Aubrey Organics' Sea Buckthorn line, contains Ester-C, an antioxidant shown to remain active longer than other forms of Vitamin C to help repair skin that has been damaged by the sun. $6.50-15.75
  • Luzern Organic Cosmeceuticals Serum V12 Absolut is an advanced antioxidant complex that reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, neutralizes free radicals, stimulates collagen synthesis and acts as a power packed multi-vitamin booster to keep skin young and healthy. $75
  • Read more about after sun skin care with Erin Schrode's blog: And The Sun Shines On.

    Jennifer Sgro is a Toronto freelance fashion writer.