Summer is long hours outdoors, pool parties, and exploring the wilderness (or the urban ‘zoo’ for that matter). However, prolonged time under the blazing sun's rays burdens your skin, making it prone to various skin conditions such as dryness, sunburn, pigmentation, or allergies.
This guide will provide some practical tips on managing the adverse effects on your skin that come with too much exposure to the sun. Some essential and base oils will at the very least partially reverse sun damage done to your skin, based on how bad is your situation.
The hot sun can deplete your skin of its moisture and thus make your skin dry and even flaky. Dehydrated skin looks dull and feels rather itchy, with intense, persistent tightness. Unfortunately, UV rays can compromise your hydrolipidic barrier and gulp all skin’s natural water reservoir.
UV rays can put a lot of burden on your skin. Sunburn is a condition that varies in intensity. It is an inflammatory reaction to too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunburn affects the skin's outermost layer, and based on the intensity of the sunbuthe rn, skin may flake and peel after a few days.
Wrinkles and premature aging
Too much exposure to the sun is one of the leading causes of skin damage and wrinkling. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes changes to the texture of the skin. UV rays trigger the formation of free radicals within the skin. Free radicals damage elastin fibers in the skin and contribute to wrinkling and premature aging.
Pigmentation (Discoloration of your skin)
As a result of too much exposure to the sun, the skin increases its production of the pigment melanin. The extra melanin makes your skin look darker.
Have in mind that…
Certain medications such as Ciprofloxacin, Doxycycline, Levofloxacin, Tetracycline, and Trimethoprim can increase photosensitivity. You should avoid sun exposure if you are taking them. Some essential oils, such as the bergamot essential oil can also trigger photosensitivity and lead to sunburn and pigmentation. The same applies to lemon, lime, and angelica essential oils.
Your skin type determines your susceptibility to sunburns. People with a fair complexion run the highest risk. However, anyone is at risk of getting sunburned.
Even without a sunburn, continuous sun exposure raises skin cancer risk. The sun causes cellular damage that can lead to cancer.
Look up the UV index before going outdoors. The sun varies in intensity, by season, time of day, and geographic location. A high UV index means that unprotected skin will burn faster. Be careful even when the sun isn’t shining. Keep in mind, that up to 80 percent of UV rays can go through the clouds. (source: SkinCancer.org)
Now let’s dig deep into how to relieve sun damage to your skin with essential and base oils.
Lavender essential oil is known to have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. It can help relieve symptoms such as pain, redness, or swelling while lowering the risk of infection.
The lavender essential oil calms your skin, and it has a cooling effect on the red, inflamed skin. Lavender oil is considered mild and safe for topical use on the skin. Diluted in almond or hemp oil, it regenerates the damaged skin cells.
How to use lavender oil for sun-damaged skin: Mix 5 drops of lavender oil with a full tablespoon of aloe gel. You can add ten drops to your bathtub and soak for 20 minutes.
German Chamomile and Roman Chamomile contain properties that soothe agitated and sunburned skin. However, the Roman chamomile essential oil is our skin-calming hero. The Chamazulene, which Roman chamomile essential oil is rich in, exhibits anti-inflammatory activity and thus heals and restores the damaged skin tissue.
Chamomile Oil also has an antispasmodic effect, and it can calm spasms. If you apply it on sunburned skin (well diluted), Chamomile Essential Oil could reduce discomfort and redness.
The production of Helichrysum essential oil is extensive, but it is worth each drop. Helichrysum oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, and it can heal wounds and agitated skin. Neryl acetate is the primary chemical constituent of Helichrysum essential oil, and it is said to help reduce the appearance of marks and pores.
Dilute a few drops of helichrysum oil in a carrier oil of your choice and apply to your sunburned skin regularly.
Here are some carrier oils that can hydrate and moisturize your inflamed skin.
The best base oils for dry and flaky skin are:
Sweet Almond oil
Sweet almond oil is considered light and not pore-clogging. It is quickly absorbed, and it will instantly nourish your sunburned skin. The regular use of this oil is said to support the renewal of the epidermis. It also helps cope with dark sports.
Rosehip oil contains antioxidants that help improve skin texture and even skin complexion. Vitamin C is well known for fading scars and blemishes. The content of omega-3, -6, and -9 fatty acids makes rosehip oil best for dry skin.
Hemp oil is rich in oleic and linoleic acid, which exhibit anti-aging properties. It can target wrinkles and fine lines. Hemp oil can nourish and moisturize your face and body without clogging up your pores. It will help you repair your hydrolipidic barrier.
That rate is recommended for facial applications and long-term use.
That rate is recommended for body products.
Keep in mind that undiluted essential oils can cause an allergic reaction.
The same statement is true with skincare and preventing sun damage to your skin. Here are a few easy-to-follow steps to prevent sun-damaged skin:
1. Apply sunscreen before you go outside.
2. Choose a water-resistant sunscreen that has a sun protection factor (SPF) of 50.
3. Limit your time outdoors when the sun is at its peak - at midday and early afternoon.
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Sweet almond oil is great for dry and sensitive skin. It has great tolerance, and experts advise it is easily absorbed, without being too heavy on your skin.
The cold pressed oil from rosehip is rich in essential fatty acids, especially omega-3 (α-linolenic acid) and omega-6 (linoleic acid), minerals, vitamin A (beta-carotene) and vitamin C and provides the skin with important nutrients and antioxidants.