Excessive sun exposure leads to an uneven complexion, lines, wrinkles and redness and is the fastest way to age your skin. Sun damage to the skin accumulates over time and can be caused by even a few minutes outdoors at a time. Most early damage to the skin is cosmetic and is caused by the increased production of melanocytes, the skin cells that produce the dark skin pigment melanin. The extra melanin can make your skin look tanned or darker after sun exposure. These superficial darkened areas and fine lines can be reduced with natural skin treatments.
Apply natural dark honey to your face and other exposed areas of the body as a rejuvenating mask and cleanser. Spread a thin layer onto the skin and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Wash off the honey with warm water and pat the skin dry. Honey, particularly the dark varieties, contains high levels of natural, healing antioxidants that help reduce free-radical damage on the skin due to exposure to the sun, pollution and stress. They work by improving texture, tone and moisture in the skin.
Make a home-made toner by mixing a tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a half-cup of distilled water. Apply to your skin with a cotton pad and let dry. Leave the toner on the skin or wash off with warm water after 30 minutes to one hour, if desired. Lemon juice contains natural glycolic and alpha hydroxy acids that help to gently exfoliate the superficial layer of skin cells to improve rough skin texture and uneven complexion due to sun damage.
Eat more foods that are rich in vitamin A. These include fish, eggs and brightly colored vegetables. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant nutrient that promotes skin healing and slows aging and accumulated damage due to environmental toxins and sunlight. You can also take a vitamin A supplement with the guidance of your family doctor.
Wear sunblock everyday regardless of your skin color and whether it is raining or sunny. Put enough sunblock on to cover any exposed skin. Ensure that your sunblock contains both broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection to prevent sun damage. Wearing sunblock regularly will help prevent reoccurring skin damage and help fade any previous sun damage.
Skin cancer is a very serious risk that can be decreased by covering up and wearing a high SPF sunblock, sunglasses and a hat when you are in the sun. Sunblock should be worn everyday, regardless of whether it is cloudy or sunny.
Pregnant women should not take vitamin A supplements without the supervision of their doctor. Lemon juice, even when diluted, can be irritating to the skin. If you feel a burning or painful sensation after applying this homemade remedy or any others, immediately wash your skin with warm water. Seek medical attention if you experience any allergy symptoms such as skin rash or hives, swelling, itching or difficulty breathing.
Noreen Kassem is a hospital doctor and a medical writer. Her articles have been featured in "Women's Health," "Nutrition News," "Check Up" and "Alive Magazine." Kassem also covers travel, books, fitness, nutrition, cooking and green living.