How to treat photoaging: There are certain skincare ingredients that, while highly beneficial for your skin, do make you more sensitive to the sun’s damaging UV rays. This is called photosensitivity. Damage from UV rays can result in accelerated aging since they break down collagen in the skin. These ingredients can leave your skin more prone to developing hyperpigmentation, such as dark spots. Even more dangerous, UV rays can predispose you to skin cancer. Still, the ingredients we’ll discuss in this blog have significant benefits for your skin (otherwise, they wouldn’t be found in skincare products!) So how can you prevent photoaging? And what are those ingredients you should be using with caution?
How to reduce harmful effects
You can certainly still use these products, but there are a few things you can do to minimize the harmful effects of UV rays. First, use them during your nighttime routine. That way, all the good stuff soaks in overnight, and when you wake up in the morning, you’ll wash it all off and start afresh with your morning routine products. If you choose to fill your morning routine with products that can sensitize your skin to the sun, be sure to layer on a good sunscreen and follow good sun health tips such as avoiding the sun during peak hours.
Some sun-sensitizing ingredients, such as retinol, can be a bit harsh on skin, so building up a tolerance to the product is recommended to reduce sensitivity-related reactions. Use it twice a week at first, gradually increase usage to the desired or recommended amount, and definitely use retinol-containing products at night.
Which ingredients make your skin sensitive to the sun?
Now we’ll go over some of those ingredients that increase photosensitivity. One of these is fruit enzymes. Often used in skin peel treatments, fruit enzymes help refresh and renew skin through a chemical process (as opposed to a mechanical process such as with microdermabrasion). While a treatment like this can work wonders in terms of rejuvenating your look, it also leaves your skin extremely vulnerable to the elements. Opt for the gentlest treatment your first time trying it out, especially if you have sensitive skin.
As mentioned above, retinol is another ingredient that leaves skin vulnerable to the sun. While it’s renowned for helping to fight signs of aging, it definitely is a nighttime-only product as it increases photosensitivity.
Have acne? Two of the biggest acne-fighting ingredients, benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, both sensitize the skin to the sun. Use these products at night or use good sunscreen after application.
How to treat photoaging
How to treat photoaging: Speaking of acids, two categories of ingredients also cause photosensitivity. These are the AHAs and BHAs, of which salicylic acid is one. Alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, for example, lactic acid or glycolic acid, should be used with care.
Many natural skincare products make use of essential oils. These can be great for delivering critical nutrients to your skin, but some, especially citrus oils like orange, lemon, and bergamot, can increase photosensitivity.
Finally, some topical prescription medications can leave skin sensitive to the sun. Read the label for any topical medications you will be using and see the instructions for preventing sun damage while using the medication.
With a little extra love and care from you, your skin will be just fine using any of these ingredients! When in doubt, speak to a dermatologist to get custom recommendations for how you can treat your skin while also keeping it safe from the sun!