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#AskGraydon: Is there a way to heal sun damage after the fact?

#AskGraydon: Is there a way to heal sun damage after the fact?


Hi Eunbin, 😍

Before I answer your wonderful question, I just want to say thank you for your support; it truly means so much to me!

Now, let’s get to it. 

Sun damage.

We’ve all been there—sitting outside on a beautiful, sunny day, sipping a refreshing smoothie, not really thinking about when to reapply the SPF. That evening, after a delightful day of fresh air, you look in the mirror and… YIKES! You see the redness. Suddenly you feel the burning and the itching and the regret for not paying more attention to sun protection.

It happens to the best of us! Maybe even more than once.

Woman with sunburn

Obviously, the best way to prevent sun damage is to avoid the sun. But is that realistic? Probably not. So if you’re heading out under those warm, golden rays, it’s important to take precautions. Cover up with light coloured clothing, wear a wide brimmed hat and slather on that SPF certified sunscreen (don’t forget to reapply as indicated on the product packaging).

As we’ve already discussed, sometimes we get so caught up in outdoor fun that we forget about the damaging effects of too much sun. So is there a way to heal sun damage after the fact?

First, let’s discuss how the sun affects our skin. 

The basics about sun damage

While the sun helps our skin to produce vitamin D (which is good), it also exposes us to ultraviolet radiation that can damage our cells (which is bad). The two most common forms of ultraviolet radiation (also known as UV rays) are UVA and UVB. 

UVA rays make up 90-95% of the sunlight that reaches Earth(1) and can penetrate deeper layers of the skin. These rays cause immediate tanning effects and are the main culprit of premature skin aging.(2) It’s believed that exposure to UV rays may cause up to 80% of visible signs of aging.(1) This includes dryness, wrinkles and changes in pigmentation. 

UVB rays make up 5-10% of the sunlight that reaches Earth(1) and can penetrate the top layer of the skin. They cause delayed sunburns and are the main culprit of most skin cancers.(2)

Before we continue on, I just want to take a quick moment to mention that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that 5-15 minutes of sun exposure on the hands, face and arms two to three times a week during the summer is all we need to keep our vitamin D levels high!(3)

Now, back to it. You’ve far exceeded the recommended amount of sun exposure and you’re left with a sunburn. How do you heal that damage?

How to help heal sun damage

Unfortunately, even mild sunburns don’t heal overnight. However, there are some steps that you can take to help soothe the skin and speed the healing process. 

1. Hydrate your body: Spending hours under the hot sun likely caused more than just a sunburn. Chances are, your body is also dehydrated. In addition, sunburns dry out the skin so it’s important that you replenish your fluids and hydrate your skin from the inside out. 

Plain ol’ water is always a classic choice for hydration but if you’re really dehydrated, try something with electrolytes. Coconut water is a great option, just be sure to check the label to make sure it’s 100% coconut water and not loaded with extra sugar or flavouring.

2. Cool the area: A quick, cool shower or a cold compress applied to the sunburn can help to diminish excess heat on the skin. Personally, I keep a bottle of Face Food Mineral Mist in the fridge during the summer for just this purpose. Not only does the mist help to cool and hydrate the skin, Face Food is formulated with beneficial ingredients that may help repair sun damaged skin. 

Bottle of Face Food Mineral Mist laying on black stone

One of those ingredients is magnesium, which is known to enhance skin hydration, improve skin barrier function and reduce inflammation.(4) Copper is another ingredient in Face Food that may help with sun damage. Studies suggest that copper assists with skin regeneration and helps to inhibit oxidative stress (damage to cells).(5)

Don’t be shy when it comes to using Face Food! Liberally spritz the cooled product all over your sunburn and allow it to soak into the skin. 

3. Moisturize the skin: It’s always important to moisturize your skin but it’s even more crucial to do so after a sunburn. When it comes to sunburns, my go-to moisturizer is Putty. This super soothing moisturizer is formulated with a plethora of superfood ingredients to help nourish the skin and strengthen the skin barrier. 

Bottle of Putty moisturizer on a bed of oats

One of the most well-known skin soothing ingredients is colloidal oatmeal. Not only does colloidal oatmeal contain compounds that soothe and calm the skin, it also contains lipids (including omega-3 and 6 fatty acids) that help to nourish the skin barrier. And if that’s not enough, these oats also have compounds with anti-inflammatory properties that can help to calm itching.(6) 

Another well-known ingredient in Putty is cocoa butter. This vegetable fat, extracted from cocoa beans, is rich in antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals(7) caused by sun damage. And being a vegetable fat, cocoa butter is obviously rich in fatty acids that deeply hydrate and moisturize the skin, which is oh so important after a sunburn. 

Putty is also formulated with chamomile extract. You may be familiar with chamomile as a calming pre-bedtime tea. But chamomile also has anti-inflammatory properties that penetrate into deeper layers of the skin.(8) This suggests that chamomile can help to soothe inflammation caused by UV rays. 

And of course, let’s not forget about turmeric. This ingredient has been used in India for centuries because of its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.(9) 

All of the ingredients in Putty work together to soothe, hydrate and moisturize your skin. Apply liberally and often to provide your skin with the nourishment it needs to help heal irritated, sunburnt skin. 

One more thing: While most sunburns can be treated at home, if your sunburn starts to blister it’s important to seek the assistance of a medical professional.

How to get glowing skin without the sun

We all want that glowing summer tan look, but as we know, tanned skin means sun damaged skin. So how do you get that radiant glow without the sun damage? And the answer isn’t makeup.

You read that right! You can get glowing skin without sun or makeup!

Enter Superfood Serum. Yup… this velvety-smooth oil based serum is formulated with ingredients that help nourish your skin and get it glowing! 

Bottle of Superfood Serum on a bed of raspberries

For starters, it’s got raspberry seed oil, which is packed with vitamins A, C and E. Raspberry seed oil also has emollient and occlusive properties so it can soften your skin and prevent transepidermal water loss, which is very helpful when it comes to keeping your skin hydrated in warmer weather. Superfood Serum is also formulated with an ingredient we’ve already touched on: turmeric. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric may also help to bring life to dull, tired skin.(9) 

Pro Tip: Spritz your face with Face Food Mineral Mist for a little extra glow after applying Superfood Serum!

Final words

So there you have it. If you find yourself with a sunburn, you can help to heal the damage by hydrating your body, cooling the area with chilled Face Food Mineral Mist and moisturizing the burn with skin nourishing Putty

Instead of getting a sun-kissed glow from the actual sun, try Superfood Serum and Face Food Mineral Mist to brighten your complexion with vitamins and minerals. 

Shop this article 


Click here for everything you need to know about sebum and oil. Plus, tips for controlling excess sebum and oily skin.

Credit for main image: Marko_Marcello


(1) Amaro-Ortiz A, Yan B, D'Orazio JA. “Ultraviolet Radiation, Aging and the Skin: Prevention of Damage by Topical cAMP Manipulation” Molecules. 2014; 19(5):6202-6219.

(2) Vandergriendt, Carly. “UVA vs. UVB Rays: What's the Difference?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 12 Sept. 2019,

(3) “Radiation: The known health effects of ultraviolet radiation” World Health Organization, 16 Oct. 2017,

(4) Proksch, Ehrhardt et al. “Bathing in a magnesium-rich Dead Sea salt solution improves skin barrier function, enhances skin hydration, and reduces inflammation in atopic dry skin.” International journal of dermatology vol. 44,2 (2005): 151-7. doi:10.1111/j.1365-4632.2005.02079.x

(5) Philips, Neena et al. “Beneficial regulation of fibrillar collagens, heat shock protein-47, elastin fiber components, transforming growth factor-β1, vascular endothelial growth factor and oxidative stress effects by copper in dermal fibroblasts.” Connective tissue research vol. 53,5 (2012): 373-8. doi:10.3109/03008207.2012.665970

(6) Reynertson, Kurt A et al. “Anti-inflammatory activities of colloidal oatmeal (Avena sativa) contribute to the effectiveness of oats in treatment of itch associated with dry, irritated skin.” Journal of drugs in dermatology : JDD vol. 14,1 (2015): 43-8. 

(7) Scapagnini, Giovanni et al. “Cocoa Bioactive Compounds: Significance and Potential for the Maintenance of Skin Health.” Nutrients 6.8 (2014): 3202–3213. Crossref. Web.

(8) Srivastava, Janmejai K et al. “Chamomile: A herbal medicine of the past with bright future.” Molecular medicine reports vol. 3,6 (2010): 895-901. doi:10.3892/mmr.2010.377

(9) Silver, Natalie. “Turmeric for Skin” Healthline, Healthline Media, 7 Mar, 2019, 

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