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After Sun Skincare

Warm weather is here, and we can’t wait to get some sun. As the days start getting hotter, it’s a good time to relook at your skincare routine and adjust it for the new conditions. It’s also time to up your sun protection game.

Even though you wear sunscreen throughout the year (you do, don’t you?), at some point, you may forget to reapply, or not apply enough, and end up burned. Or you may just come home after a day out and feel like your skin is hot, irritated, and in need of a refresher.

It’s a good idea to have a few items in your beauty arsenal to deal with days when you’ve had too much sun. From soothing a red hot sunburn to restoring a toasted skin barrier, here are some tips to stay cool.

Signs of sun overexposure

Besides the obvious lobster-red burn, there are other more subtle signs that your skin has had enough sun and could benefit from some TLC. Even if you didn’t get sunburned, your skin may become reactive or unusually sensitive.

Here are some of the signs your skin could have been overexposed:

  • Sunburn
  • Redness
  • Unusual irritation
  • Hardened skin
  • Rough texture
  • Dull complexion
  • Itchiness

What to do if you get sunburned

If your skin is burned or just feeling a bit like overdone toast, there are steps you can take to minimize pain and maximize healing. We’ve outlined them in our article, What to Do if You Get Sunburned.

Things to avoid

There are certain products you should avoid if your skin is suffering from sunburn or overexposure. This includes anything that is a common irritant (your skin may be more sensitive than usual), like certain essential oils. Because the sun dries out your skin, skip any harsh cleansers, astringents, or anything containing alcohol. Those will only dry your skin out further and prevent it from healing. If you regularly use retinoids or acids to exfoliate, make sure your skin is fully healed before resuming. The same goes for physical scrubs. While they can help revitalize a dull complexion, don’t use them until you’re sure your barrier is in good shape. Lastly, don’t put thick, occlusive creams or oils on sun-damaged skin. These are designed to form a layer on skin, and they’ll trap heat - the last thing you want for sunburned skin.

Ingredients that heal

While you can specifically get “after sun” skincare, you can also use skincare that contains some of the following ingredients

Aloe: This is probably the first ingredient you think of to help with sunburn, and there are good reasons why. Besides the fact that it feels so nice and cool, aloe is full of vitamins A, C, and E. These antioxidants help fight free radicals that cause damage and aging. It also contains amino acids and moisturizes so skin feels softer and more comfortable. Get cooling comfort with Nature Republic’s Soothing & Moisture Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel.

Centella: It’s not surprising that this super-ingredient works on sun-damaged skin. It has been used for years for healing purposes, and for soothing inflammation. Like aloe, it contains amino acids, vitamins, and antioxidants. If that weren’t enough, it even helps to fight some of the signs of aging associated with sun damage by boosting collagen production. Enjoy the benefits of centella with Purito’s Centella Unscented Toner.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a stronger active, so save it for when your skin is mostly recovered (don’t use it on broken skin). It’s a powerful antioxidant that does a great job neutralizing free radicals and diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. Fight the effects of UV rays with Barulab’s The Clean Vegan Vitamin C Mask.

Hyaluronic Acid: Skin that has had a lot of exposure to the sun is often dry. UV rays strip the skin of moisture which needs to be replenished. Hyaluronic acid is light, can hold a ton of moisture, and isn’t sticky or uncomfortable on dehydrated or sunburned skin. It’s popular in a lot of hydrating products, like Cosrx’s Hydrium Watery Toner.

Green Tea: Not only is green tea full of antioxidants that fight those pesky free radicals, but it’s amazing for calming and reducing inflammation. If your skin is red and irritated after being in the sun, a spritz with a green tea formula provides instant relief. As a bonus for those with oily skin - green tea is also great at controlling excess sebum! Protect and calm skin with Beauty of Joseon’s Calming Serum: Green Tea + Panthenol.

Tips and Tricks

Besides using soothing products, here are some ways of cooling skin off and getting quick relief.

  1. Put your favorite hydrating toner or mist in the fridge before using it for a refreshing treatment. You can do the same with your sheet masks.
  2. Don’t forget SPF on your lips. The skin there is thin and needs protecting!
  3. Take a lukewarm shower after being in the sun. It will help bring down the temperature of your skin, and cleanse off sweat. Pat skin dry to avoid irritating it.
  4. Moisture, moisture, moisture! Skin loses water in the heat and sun. Drink plenty of water, and replenish skin by applying light layers of hydrating products.
  5. Get your accessories on! Hats and sunglasses aren’t just for looks! Hats protect your scalp (which can get sunburned) and ears. Sunglasses not only protect your eyes, but the delicate skin around your eyes, and prevents you from having to squint (which also causes fine lines). 

While it’s great to have some of these products and tips on hand if you do get too much sun, remember that the best course of action is to be on the defence!

Antioxidants and sunscreen will prevent damage from occurring in the first place - the ideal strategy for everyone!

Still looking for the perfect product? Check out our sun care collection.