Sun Slip Up

What is one of the worst things that could possibly happen to my skin?  I got a little color yesterday!  Eek. 

When it comes to sun protection, we all should know the rules:
1.  Apply a nickel sized amount of sunscreen to the face.
2. Reapply every 2 hours.

Rule 1: Check.
Rule 2: Not so much.


Let's set the scene...
We took the family to go strawberry picking yesterday. It is a fun activity for kids, plus you get to take home fresh strawberries, which, by the way are a great source of skin strengthening Vitamin C.  By the time we arrived, it was of course peak sun time at 2 PM.  The kids were so excited to get out of the car, that I didn't reapply my sunscreen before getting out myself.

Let's fast-forward 7 hours later as I am washing my face before starting my night time regimen.  Why does my face feel warm?  Why are my cheeks rosy?  OH NO!  WHAT HAVE I DONE? Now this is not quite a 911-worthy emergency, but certainly enough to aggravate me.  I literally just had my entire face lasered last week, and this happens?!  (More on that to come in the future...)  

It was time to pull out my UV first-aid kit.  The initial damage was done, but not too late to prevent more.  A recent study showed that the effects of UV light continue to damage the skin for hours after the exposure. (Check out this great article from Allure magazine for the full details.)  While I can't undo my skin transgression, I can minimize the long term effects.

So here is my post-UV exposure prescription, which, by the way, brought my face back to normal this morning.

1. Antioxidants.  These fire figthers put out the damage caused by oxygen free radicals.  I normally use them in the morning, but in cases like this, it's time pull out all the stops.  Common antioxidants include Vitamins C and E, ferulic acid, phloretin, and idebenone. I've used Skinceuticals and Prevage.

2. Peptides.  These proteins rev up your skin cells' collagen production.  You may not realize it, but they are in products like Olay's Regenerist line and Strivectin.  Even Colorescience has a new peptide containing foundation.

3. DNA Repair Enzymes.  UV light damages the DNA of our skin cells, leading to early aging, wrinkles, and skin cancers.  Topical DNA repair enzymes boost our cells' natural ability to heal themselves.  Some of the newer products that have them include Neovaand Innovative Skincare.

4. Growth Factors. These messengers give signals to weak, damaged skin cells so they act like young, healthy cells.  The downside is that growth factor containing creams tend to be pricey.  I use SkinMedica.

5. NSAIDs. I took 325mg aspirin by mouth to help reduce skin inflammation from the inside out.

Don't have these creams already at home?  That's ok. You can create a make-shift kit from what what you likely already have.  Try a bland moisturizer or aloe, combined with your your morning sunscreen.  While you aren't worried about the sun itself at night, sunscreens you may already be using, like this one from Neutrogena, actually have antioxidants in them.  You can also try a cool milk compress followed by OTC hydrocortisone 1% cream.

#CoriConfesses.  Even I had a sun slip-up.   Oh, and so did Dr. Z., but you didn't hear it from me.