How to Heal Sun Damaged Skin


We have all learnt in school how important giving our body exposure to the sun is. Well, of course. After all, this fireball of gases is the main source of vitamin D, which in itself holds much priority in the list of important nutrients required by our body. However, let’s not forget that everything has its bright and dark side.

Know How These 15 Things Can Help Heal Your Sun Damaged Skin!

Another fact that we’re all aware of is the presence of the UV rays of this very same sun which is the primary source of energy to all beings.

Thus, it’s obvious that excess and/or direct exposure to the sun can lead to you having sun damaged skin. Now, let’s acquire a little more information regarding this same problem that many of us may face and how this sun damage can be healed.



15 Natural Things That Can Help Sun Damaged Skin

What’s done is done. But how you manage the situation is what counts. Thus, the same goes for your sun damaged skin. Though the sun's damage to your DNA can’t be reversed, the damage to your skin can surely be managed and even altered. Therefore, let’s explore what you can use for the same.

  • Cucumber
  • Have you ever heard of the idiom, ‘cool as cucumber’? Despite it actually referring to a person who is calm and relaxed, let’s not forget why this comparison exists in the first place. Because cucumbers constitute 96% water and are a source of vitamin C, they are extremely beneficial for sun damaged skin. They have the ability to help build collagen and make your skin firmer and clearer besides healing sun damage. They also exact a cooling sensation making them an absolute choice for sunburn as well.

    When to use: Though there exists no specified time for the use of cucumber, you can use it post your exposure to the sun and/or before bed.

    How to use: You can use it in different forms such as direct slices, cucumber water, mask, toner, etc.

  • Aloe Vera
  • Aloe vera, typically a desert plant, provides an aid to your sun damaged skin. Ironical, isn’t it? But you must already know how aloe vera is used for several purposes. One can use it in cooking, for hair, skin, teeth, etc. However, its usage for skin is the most known. It has vitamins A and C, high antioxidant properties, and enzymes. All of these, together, seek to revive and guard your skin from sun damage. Furthermore, lightning marks, coping with ageing signs like wrinkles and fine lines, relieving burning sensations, etc. are another few contributions of aloe vera. Nonetheless, if you are among those who are allergic to this desert plant, beware!

    When to use: Apply it on your clean skin after washing it or before bed. You may also rinse it using lukewarm water after about 15-20 minutes of application.

    How to use: Simply extract its gel and apply it directly on your sun damaged skin.

  • Rose Water
  • Almost all love roses. It’s pretty and soft even if its stem has thorns. People can be the same. So if their personalities can be like this, why not their skin be a part of this as well? And the fact that rose water can help you make your sun damaged skin as pretty as this flower itself would surely make you jolly. Rose water has the properties of an inhibitor that works against collagenase and elastase which stimulate the signs of ageing like crow-feet, fine lines, skin breakouts, etc. Thus, if you desire skin that is soothed, refreshed, and hydrated, rose water may come forward as an excellent choice.

    When to use: You can use rose water as a toner. Apply it right after cleansing your face which can be done in both am and pm.

    How to use: Applying it is simple. Just use a cotton pad to lightly dab and apply on the affected area of your skin.

  • Green Tea
  • The use of green tea isn’t just to maintain your weight but also to maintain your sun damaged skin. It is a type of compound full of anti-inflammatory properties as well as that, which also acts as an anti-cancer agent. According to recent studies, green tea is known to increase the levels of benzoic acid. This acid furthermore helps your skin to recover and stay protected from UV rays. Also, because it has antibacterial properties as well, this further is helpful towards your skin.

    When to use: Green tea can be used every day.

    How to use: You can either start consuming it every day or turn it into a mist that you can use on your exposed skin when you go out.

  • Honey
  • Isn’t honey really sweet to not just add sweetness to our food but also because it helps one’s sun damaged skin? It has high amounts of antioxidants that keep your skin hydrated, boosts collagen and elastin, works against age lines and wrinkles, lightens hyperpigmentation, softens your skin, etc. Honey is also exceptionally effective against spots caused by the sun and in healing the breakouts of damaged skin. It can be combined with papaya and turned into a fine paste to apply to your injured skin. The β-carotene and lycopene in papaya further help against sunburns and provide your skin shield against the harmful rays of the Sun.

    When to use: You may use honey every day or on alternative days.

    How to use: Apply it on your cleansed skin and leave it for around 15 minutes to dry before rinsing it with lukewarm water and patting your skin dry.

  • Lemon
  • Okay, let’s get this one thing straight. Lemons aren’t useful just to remove stains from clothes, dishes and other household items. It is also applicable to the skin to lighten its scars, brighten it, and give it a deep cleansing. Lemons have vitamin C which is considered an outstanding antioxidant that bravely fights against sun damage and signs of premature ageing. Besides using it for sun damaged skin, lemons can also be used for oily skin. Conclusively, as sour as lemons may be, they are a super great deal for you!

    When to use: The best time to apply lemon might be at night. Applying it when you are going out during the day may result in sunburn and skin irritation.

    How to use: Apply a thin layer of lemon juice and leave it for about 30 minutes before rinsing your skin with lukewarm water followed by moisturising your skin.

  • Milk
  • Milk doesn’t just make your bones and muscles strong but also nourishes your sun damaged skin. It has lactic acid that is infamously known to help in the reduction of spots and pigmentation. You can also combine it with ingredients like oatmeal, turmeric, gram flour, etc. For this, you can either use the mixture as a scrub or a mask. While the other one would help you with exfoliation, the latter would help nourish your skin and allow it to absorb the nutrients.

    When to use: Applying it at night and washing your skin with lukewarm water the next day is the most preferred way to use it. However, it can also be applied during the day and rinsed your skin after some time.

    How to use: Just use a cotton pad to dab and apply milk on your affected area. Gently massage the scrub and evenly spread the mask.

  • Buttermilk
  • Buttermilk, what we know as chhachh in Hindi, carries similar properties as that of milk. The obvious reason is that buttermilk is just another product made using milk. It, too, has lactic acid and some other milk properties that soften your skin, unbind the dead skin cells and other impurities in your skin, support the removal of hyperpigmentation, and healing of sun damaged skin. Buttermilk not only brightens and softens, but even helps your skin retain moisture. And the fact that it is suitable for multiple skin types makes it much more advantageous.

    When to use: Similar to the application of milk, buttermilk can also be left overnight and rinsed the next morning. You can also use it twice a day.

    How to use: Use a cotton pad to dab and apply buttermilk on your affected area.

  • Oatmeal
  • Yeah well, it turns out that oatmeal isn’t just healthy for your body when consumed but also is a great solution for sun damaged skin. The proteins and vitamins present in it work together against the damage exhibited on your skin by the sun. It's found that oatmeal constrains the production of prostaglandin and the excretion of arachidonic acid. Thus, the usage of oatmeal for your skin proves to be an extremely bright idea that can also brighten your skin. Besides, you can combine it with several other ingredients like milk, water, rose water, curd, etc.

    When to use: You can use it once or twice a week while continuing your regular skincare routine.

    How to use: Apply a moderately thick layer of this paste and let it be for about 15 minutes before rinsing it clean.

  • Rice water or Rice Flour
  • Who would have known that a staple food such as rice could fill your stomach as well as make your skin healthier?! Nutrients like amino acids, minerals, vitamins B and E, and antioxidants present in rice work towards both, helping you gain more energy as well as healing your sun damaged skin. Similarly, rice water holds the same nutrients and works the same way. The only difference is their application- one is applied in the form of a mask while the other can be used as a thin film on your skin.

    When to use: You can use them twice a day for better results.

    How to use: Either apply a smooth paste of it or a thin film of rice water on your skin.

  • Tomato
  • Tomatoes don’t just blush themselves but also can help you blush freely and honestly and not because of the effects of having sun damaged skin. Lycopene, a carotenoid present in tomatoes, is actually what works magic on your skin. Besides, because it has lots of antioxidants and is acidic in nature, it helps in removing the impurities and dead cells of your skin as well. Therefore, if you have sun-damaged skin, tomatoes might actually be great for you, especially if you combine them with other ingredients like honey.

    When to use: It would be best if you use tomatoes either in the morning or at night.

    How to use: Simply apply the juice on your clear skin lightly and leave it for about 15-20 minutes before rinsing it with lukewarm water.

  • Papaya
  • Isn’t it fun when something tasty can also be used for your skin? Hungry while doing your skincare routine, just take a bit of it. Okay, it sometimes may be gross. Jokes apart, papaya is one of those eatables that is being talked about here. Papaya has β-carotene and lycopene components that protect your skin against sun damage. Also, it creates a barrier against the UV rays of the sun so that you can keep glowing while you enjoy going out without the fear of getting sun damaged skin!

    When to use: There is no such hard and fast rule on the usage of papaya.

    How to use: You can use its paste and let it rest for 15-30 minutes and then rinse it with lukewarm water. Even better, make use of honey in this paste.

  • Turmeric
  • Turmeric- a spice that most probably is used every day in the household in South Asian countries. And this isn’t a new thing as it is basically a “ritual” in these households. In Ayurveda, turmeric has been used for several medicinal purposes for centuries now. The presence of numerous nutrients like antioxidants, Vitamin C and Vitamin B6 makes turmeric prominent in maintaining good health. Therefore, not just for consumption, turmeric is also safe and advantageous for application on sun damaged skin.

    When to use: All such skincare routines are the best to be done at night while relaxing and letting your skin do the same.

    How to use: Combine it with some other ingredients like milk, oatmeal, or fuller’s clay and leave it for around 15-20 minutes followed by rinsing. Use it once or twice a week.

  • Vitamin E
  • Have you ever tried or seen anyone else use vitamin E capsules on their face instead of gulping them down? If you have, you might either already know what that’s done for or still be confused about it. Well, to simply put it, vitamin E is actually a fat-soluble antioxidant. This means vitamin E capacitates in dealing with your skin's free radicals and protecting it against the sun's harmful UV rays. However, people with oily and/or sensitive skin are recommended not to use it directly even on their sun damaged skin. Items like shea butter, sweet almonds, wheatgerm, etc. also contain vitamin E.

    When to use: You may apply Vitamin E after initially getting your skin exposed.

    How to use: There are vitamin E capsules that can be used for application. Besides, there are also vitamin E creams available in the market for your convenience.

    (Expert advice is always recommended before you start using any substance on yourself.)

  • Strawberry
  • A famous personality once said, “Berry, berry. Strawberry!” Jokes aside, the fact that this particular berry is not just tasty but also exceptionally beneficial for your skin makes it double-loved. It is highly rich in antioxidants and ellagic acid that can reverse the effects of sun damaged skin as well as protect it from the sun. In fact, ellagic acid is capable of reducing inflammation and strawberry being full of it, has the same effect on your skin. Moreover, fighting the signs of ageing is also possible using strawberries. Thus, you can now have a juicy bite of strawberry as well as rub its juice on your sun-exposed skin!

    When to use: You can use strawberries with other ingredients like oatmeal, milk, etc. and apply it once or twice a week.

    How to use: You can directly massage its slice on your skin. But if you are doubtful regarding its reaction, use it with some other ingredients in a paste form.

  • Essential oils
  • The use of essential oils for beauty care has been known for quite a long time. They are known to be helpful for skin protection against the sun, and free radicals, fight ageing signs, etc. However, because most essential oils are too strong in nature, using them directly on the skin might not be a good idea. Besides, for this same reason, it’s better to first do a patch test to see if the oil is safe for further usage or not. Examples of essential oils are- rosemary oil, tea tree oil, lavender oil, peppermint, castor oil, etc. However, their use varies and so do their effects. Therefore, do not use them, especially if you have sun damaged skin or any other skin condition if you are not sure enough to avoid any harm.

    When to use: They are used either before or after sun exposure. To be sure, consult your skin expert.

    How to use: Never use essential oils alone. Use them either with a carrier oil or other skin-safe ingredients depending on your skin-types, problem, and expert’s advice.

  • Skin Care
  • Following the right skincare routine at the right time for your particular skin type is one of the most important steps to caress your skin. The logical reasoning behind this is that a good skincare routine helps to keep your skin healthy, retain its youthfulness for a longer time and dodge the harm that comes its way. However, people with sun damaged skin ought to be much more careful as one wrong step might backfire all the efforts.

    When to use: Follow a regular skincare routine with the products and ingredients that suit your skin the best.

    What to do: Cleanse, use serum, moisturise, use sunscreen, apply night serum, and use the products that are best suited to your skin. For this, it’s better if you consult a dermatologist.

  • Water
  • Water is probably the most important item that promotes not only your skin health but also your overall health. It doesn’t simply keep you hydrated. It also promotes your blood cells to work actively towards the goal that all your body parts are supplied with vital nutrients. This further ensures the health of your organs and so yours. Other than this, you need to use clean water with an apt temperature to help your sun damaged skin to heal. Well, here you can apply a childish logic of how the nature of the sun and the water are completely opposite and so water can help relieve the effects of the sun.

    When to use: You surely know how to use water. But just remember that you do not have to wash your skin, maybe more than a few times.

    How to use: Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water a day and wash your face with cold or lukewarm water.

  • Bonus: Curd+Rice+Rose Water (+Aloe Vera)
  • The combination of curd, rice, rose water, and aloe vera is like that chocolate that is filled with nuts and just bursts into your mouth releasing all its deliciousness. Well, simply saying, all these ingredients have multiple nutrients that when combined, form a dynamic solution for sun damaged skin. This paste helps you relieve your skin, tightens it, lets it stay younger for a longer time, etc. However, aloe vera is an optional ingredient here as some people may be allergic to it.

    When to use: It would be best if you use this past-cum-mask at night.

    How to use: Apply a smooth paste of these ingredients on clean skin and let it dry before rinsing it with lukewarm water.

    Signs Of Sun Damage

    Of course, you have got the solutions you need to know for sun damaged skin. But don’t you think you will also require some help to recognise when your skin is actually going through this damage? Hence, here are a few signs that can help you recognise the damage that the sun causes to your skin:

    • Severe tanning
    • Sunburns
    • Hyperpigmentation
    • Rosacea (Breakage of blood vessels)
    • Age spots or freckles
    • Blackheads
    • Photoageing
    • Atypical moles
    • Actinic keratoses
    • Actinic cheilitis (of lips)


    Yes, the sun is an important source of building a stronger body and brain but never forget that excess of anything can always counter you back. In such situations, how beneficial they are just does not matter. This is why, even when the sun is the primary source of all beings, excess or direct exposure to it can also lead to skin damage. Severe damage may also be faced if not treated at the right time and in the right way. However, when acted rightly, your sun damaged skin can still be healed and cared for. Therefore, you need not worry as you now know what you can do for this same purpose. Let your skin say ‘yes’ to happiness!

    Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the signs of sun damaged skin?
  • If you have sun damaged skin, the following may be some of the signs:

    • Sunburns
    • Hyperpigmentation
    • Blackheads
    • Photoageing, etc.

  • What helps heal sun damage?
  • If you want to heal sun damage, start a regular skincare routine that would be the best suited for you. This would include home remedies as well that could be of great help.

  • How can I treat sun damaged skin at home?
  • Try using the following for treating sun damaged skin at home:

    • Aloe Vera
    • Green Tea
    • Buttermilk
    • Papaya
    • Strawberry, etc.

  • Is coconut oil good for sun damaged skin?
  • It isn’t really recommended to use coconut oil for sun damaged skin.

  • What skin disease is caused by sun damage?
  • Phototoxic reactions, photoageing, photoallergic reactions, etc. may be caused by sun damage.