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*May need a deeper shade of foundation. *Bronzer adds natural summer glow.


Peptides Help Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage

July 31, 2023

Peptides Help Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage

Your skin loves peptides. Peptides are short-chain amino acids that augment and help build proteins within your skin, resulting in firm, healthy skin with fewer wrinkles and less damage from environmental toxins. One environmental hazard that can be partially mitigated through the use of peptides is UV damage from the sun. 

The sun is both good and bad for you. The good attributes of the sun are that it boosts vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium), increases the production of nitric oxide (which helps lower blood pressure), and helps you feel rejuvenated after long periods of time spent in fluorescent lighting. But excessive exposure to intense UV rays over time causes cellular damage in the skin, which may lead to thickened skin, leathery wrinkles, dark spots, and even skin cancer. 

The good news is that you don’t have to limit your time in the sun to achieve that perfect balance between healthy and excessive sun exposure. With the right skincare routine, you can protect your skin and increase its ability to heal damage. 

Let’s look at the basics of sun protection and peptides to understand why the right sunblock and peptide combination could be your ticket to glowing, radiant skin. 

Choosing the right sunblock

Johns Hopkins recommends applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to all exposed skin if you plan to be in the sun for any significant length of time. Check the label to make sure the product you choose is actually broad-spectrum, meaning it’s effective against both UVA and UVB rays

If you’ll be sweating or swimming, it’s also important to choose a product with some water resistance, but you still need to reapply frequently even if your product claims to be waterproof. A good rule of thumb is to reapply sunblock every two hours. 

It’s worth noting that some sunblock ingredients have become controversial in recent years. Oxybenzone, octinoxate, and homosalate in particular have been linked to endocrine disruption, hormonal disorders, reproductive problems, organ toxicity, allergies, and even increased absorption of environmental pesticides. It’s also believed that they may be harmful to marine life and coral reefs. Many people are now choosing not to use sunblocks with these ingredients if they’re heading to the beach. 

Experts still recommend using sunblocks even if they contain these ingredients, as they are indeed effective in protecting your skin against sun damage. However, if you want to be cautious, you should choose mineral sunblocks—also called physical sunblocks—that contain titanium dioxide or zinc oxide instead of the chemical blockers listed above. 

To be extra cautious, look for a product that contains non-nano forms of these minerals, because they are less apt to be absorbed into the skin. And, finally, avoid aerosolized sunscreens even if they contain the safer physical blockers rather than chemical sunblocks. Aerosol sunscreens may be inhaled during application, which means you’ll be giving your lungs an internal dose of sunscreen. 

Conveniently, you can combine some aspects of your natural skincare routine with your sun protection routine. It’s as simple as choosing a foundation, primer, and lipstick with an SPF rating. 

Boosting your skin’s health with peptides

Peptides help heal wounds, reduce inflammation, lower the risk of infection with some antimicrobial properties, and promote faster healing through increased antioxidant activity. Some peptides, such as the ones that form the building blocks of collagen, help your skin rebuild its protein network and lessen the appearance of wrinkles. There’s a good reason peptides find their way into so many anti-aging and wound care products!

When you consider the blistering, broken, inflamed skin of a sunburn or the leathery, wrinkled skin that comes from a long-term tanning habit, it’s easy to see how, with so many powerful benefits, peptides can be a valuable ally in the battle to restore skin to health and vitality. 

Your body naturally produces a wide range of peptides, each of which have an individual role within your body. That’s because peptides are building blocks of proteins rather than full proteins on their own. With some creative assembly by your body, peptides can be combined to make collagen, elastin, melanin, and other crucial components of healthy skin. 

Melanin is your body’s natural, built-in sunscreen. When exposed to UV rays, your skin will produce more melanin, which darkens the appearance of your skin. This darker surface will absorb more light than pale skin, reducing some of the cellular damage that takes place. Melanin isn’t a foolproof sunblock, however; even the most tanned and dark-complected folks will eventually surpass the level of UV radiation their melanin can absorb, and they’ll have a painful sunburn, some amount of invisible cellular damage, or both. 

When this damage happens, the skin uses peptides to help rebuild. However, just as you can assist melanin with its sun-protecting job by using a sunblock, you can also boost your body’s use of peptides by choosing products with peptides included in the formulas. 

We’ve written before about some of the other lovely benefits of peptides you can expect from long-term use. These benefits are why we include peptides in many of our natural skincare products, such as this age-defying Yellow Creme. The wrinkle-busting and revitalizing powers in this product come from a host of wonderful ingredients including hyaluronic acid, vitamin E, turmeric—and of course, peptides!

If you’re interested in learning more about natural skincare with peptides, check out this post on our favorite skincare ingredients with a section dedicated to peptide benefits

Taking additional safety measures

If you plan to be out in the sun for long periods of time, or during the sunniest hours of the day (between 10 am and 4 pm in most parts of the country), bring a wide-brimmed hat and a sweat-wicking layer of clothing for extra protection. Many beachwear shops sell long sleeved shirts and shorts with SPF ratings on the tags, so you can see the level of sun protection they’ll provide. Also be sure to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and apply sunscreen to your lips, ears, and scalp. These areas are often forgotten and are therefore prone to sunburns and UV damage (long-term UV damage to your eyes may result in early cataract formation). 

As a general rule, a sunblock or an SPF-rated item of clothing will provide some protection, but even these preventative methods aren’t perfect. Johns Hopkins says SPF 15 products will block roughly 93 percent of harmful rays, while increasing to an SPF 30 product can block up to 97 percent. Seek shelter in the shade as well, but be aware that surfaces such as water and pavement can reflect UV rays up toward your body even if you’re standing under cover. If you’re in the sun long enough, some UVA and UVB rays will inevitably penetrate even your best defenses.

That means that sometimes, despite our best efforts, the sunblock wears off or we miss a crucial spot and wind up with a painful, damaging sunburn. Soothe your skin and help accelerate the healing process by choosing a natural skin remedy with aloe, peptides, and other damage-mitigating ingredients. 

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