Oops, You’ve Got Sun Damage

How to manage, treat and reverse sun damaged skin in every way possible.

6 Minute ReadHow To by Jess Lacey, Beauty Editor

10.09.21 (Updated 19.07.23)

How to manage, treat and reverse sun damaged skin in every way possible.

Tan in haste, repent at leisure. Now that we’re on the other side of the summer months, amongst that spattering of charming freckles you might be noticing some accumulated sun damage as a result of all that glorious basking. Sun damage takes multiple forms, predominantly hyperpigmentation, dark spots and accelerated fine lines and wrinkles. If so, you’re not alone: pigmentation is now the number one UK skin gripe and irregular dark patches and uneven skin tone are widely considered more ageing than sagging skin.

“Sun damage in its various manifestations is the most common concern we see in clinic. Upwards of 80% of our patients present with it,” says award-winning aesthetic doctor, Dr Sophie Shotter. “Both men and women, from their 20s to their 80s, and those patients starting with injectables for fine lines and wrinkles in their early 20s, all come because of sun damage.”

Pigmentation is a normal occurrence, but what most of us are taking umbrage with is hyperpigmentation in the context of sun damage. Irregular brown patches most often found on the face, chest or hands are courtesy of the skin’s overproduction and erratic creation of melanin as a defensive move from intense UV exposure.

When it comes to sun damage, we’re repeat offenders

By now we should be well-versed in the dangers of sun exposure, so why are we still falling fowl of overcooking ourselves? Call it overexcitement or sliding well into 'holiday mode' but we’re all bursting to spend as much time outside as possible.

"It’s time to check in with your skin, visit a dermatologist to ensure skin health and purposefully reinstate sun barrier habits,” advises Katie Service, author of The Beauty Brief: An Insider's Guide to Skincare, (available nationwide).

So what are your options when it comes to sun damage? Happily, there are many forms of both offence and defence, depending on your lifestyle. From lasers to layering, here’s your good guide to sun damage solutions.

woman's face in sun

Smart skincare is your DIY defence against sun damage

Effective skincare should be your first and daily line of defence against sun damage. LYMA Skincare contains the highest concentration of active ingredients, hand-picked for their ability to reverse and slow down the underlying causes of skin aging, sun and UV damage included.

The latest in epigenetic skincare, LYMA Skincare is proven to counteract the aging acceleration caused by UV exposure and alter gene expression so cells act years younger.

The remarkable line-up of LYMA Skincare ingredients include:

Quercevita™ protects skin cells against UV induced degradation

Telangyn™ reduces redness and inflammation in skin

Ephemer™ a powerful antioxidant against free radical damage

Wellmune® tells immune cells to regenerate and speed-make more collagen

Tego® draws in water molecules from the atmosphere around us, deep into the skin

Developed with Genolytic™ technology, the LYMA Serum & Cream increase skin’s cell renewal, improve microcirculation, reinforce barrier strength and significantly boost long-term hydration levels. All this whilst also decreasing cellular senescence and slowing the epigenetic clock. Instead of dying off in greater numbers, cells are empowered and regenerated with immediate aesthetic effect.

Reason enough why LYMA Skincare is considered not only the best skincare regime for those over 40 but also the most powerful anti-aging skincare on the market now.

LYMA skincare yellow cream in hand
And as for prevention, there is SPF. “I’d recommend reacquainting yourself with the range of suncare products available” says Service. “SPF is no longer a chore and the functionality of suncare products has advanced lightyears. If you don’t like traditional lotions, there are multiple ways to integrate SPF into your skincare regime. We’re talking multitasking, clever products that can effectively protect the skin barrier whilst also increasing skin health and being sustainable. It’s most certainly time to update your SPF regime.”

Leave it to the professionals

Once established, sun damage is stubborn to shift. Considered a chronic skin condition by dermatologists, pigmentation patches are seldom a one-off session. Treatments are expensive, often requiring 6-8 sessions with further long-term maintenance too. Dermatologists are increasingly prescribing pigmentation skincare to sit symbiotically alongside procedures for the optimum results. “If you do a treatment that strips the pigmentation away without also addressing the pigment production pathway, then the pigment will recur. Prescription skincare resets how the pigment producing cells are working,” explains Dr Shotter. “For me the biggest recent development has been the use of Cysteamine as an ingredient. It’s as effective as Hydroquinone, but non-prescription and without carrying any of the associated side effects. We’ve had brilliant results and it is so easy to use on both face and body. Combination treatments and approaches are where the real magic is happening with results. Combining some medicines with laser treatments and home care products, has been shown to yield phenomenal results even in the most difficult cases of melasma.”

Lady using the laser for sun damaged skin on face

The latest in lasers

Dr Marwa Ali now wields the UK’s first Lumenis Stellar M22TM machine in her treatment room nestled within the Harrods Wellness Clinic. Multiple laser technologies to treat every aspect of sun damage in one colossal unit, including a bespoke hand pigmentation rejuvenation treatment for tell-tale age spots across the backs of hands. The LYMA Laser, as the most powerful at home Laser on the market, will also work on sunspots and sun-related pigmentation, and as an at home product can be used repeatedly and frequently.

The latest laser for darker skins

“I have a high percentage of Indian and Arabic clients who, as a result of living in a far hotter climates, tend to be better at addressing sun damage quickly. Obviously having darker skin tones, the likes of IPL lasers aren’t available to them, so I use the LYMA Laser which works on every skin tone. Being frequent jetsetters, they like that it’s pain-free and has zero down time, whilst being every bit as powerful as traditional clinic lasers. We get results from definite improvement, to discolouration completely disappearing. It works beautifully on that yellow pigmentation that darker skins get but also the scarring they’ve had from attempting to use clinic lasers unsuccessfully in the past,” says London-based facialist Nichola Joss.

Lady with dark skin near palm leaf in daylight

Covering up just got cool

Stats show most people apply one third of the amount of sun screen they should and covering up with t-shirt wasn’t ever a realistic solution. T-shirts have an SPF of about 5 or 6 and the thinner and lighter colour the shirt is, the less SPF it has. Now garments can be lab-tested and awarded a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor), rating their ability to block both UVA and UVB rays, depending on their density of the weave.

Previously reserved to the sensible stomping grounds of outdoorsy brands, UPF clothing has now tottered into the fashion realms. The new season MOTT50 range boasts inter-seasonal wrap skirts, boardroom-ready shirt dresses and weekend-friendly retro print palazzo pants. Everything is UPF50 guaranteed and shipped worldwide. If you’re a dedicated runner, Lululemon short sleeve running tops are sleek, seamless and UPF50.

It’s now even possible to make your holiday luggage UPF50 with sun protection clothes wash. YOU&UV UV Sun Protection Clothes Wash, SPF+50, £24.99 works by adding a capful into your washing load and adds a protective coating for a couple of washes.

The quest
for better.

Sign up to our mailing list to discover the future of beauty and wellness.

Which areas of your life are you ready to improve?