During the sunnier months of Spring and Summer, it is more important than ever to ensure that we are adequately protecting ourselves from the harmful effects of the sun’s UV rays on our skin. However, relying solely on sunscreen may not be enough. Without understanding the risks of UV exposure or the limitations of sunscreen, it is difficult to adequately protect ourselves from the sun. Adding antioxidants like Vitamin C can function as an SPF enhancer when correctly chosen and correctly used.

Sun Damage and UV radiation


UV rays have a positive effect on our health and mental health, but on the skin, it poses significant risks to our skin’s health. Not only does it increase the formation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) which are free radicals that can damage both the skin’s surface and the layers underneath, but UV exposure over time can also lead to DNA damage, premature skin aging, and even skin cancers. UV exposure can also damage the skin’s microbiome, leading to inflammation and an interference to our immune responses. Therefore, it is imperative to protect our skin from the harmful effects of UV rays. 


Sun damage and sunscreen effectiveness


Sunscreen is often not enough to protect your skin from the sun. For example, let's look at the UVB protection factor, the SPF. The laboratory testing for SPF (Sun Protection Factor) uses 2mg/cm2 of skin exposed, and based on these applications, the SPF is calculated. Theoretically speaking, SPF50 has a 98% protection rate if applied correctly. However, in practice most people only use a quarter of the amount of sunscreen necessary to achieve this level of protection, or around 0.5mg/cm2 of skin exposed. Even if using half of the laboratory recommended amount of sunscreen (1mg/cm2), it is estimated that it would provide about only 1/3 to a half of the necessary SPF protection.

So we can safely state that the application of a sunscreen is inadequate on its own to protect us from the sun in practicality. Other measures like wearing a hat and long sleeves, and avoiding the sun in the hottest hours of the day should all be part of the sun protection strategy. 

Avoiding & reducing sun damage through Vitamin C

UV radiation damages the skin via the oxidative process. Applying an antioxidant such as Vitamin C under the sunscreen can mitigate the potential problems of dark spots, sensitisation to the sun, allergic reactions, and loss of collagen and elastin in the skin. Vitamin C is an effective antioxidant to counter the onslaught of oxidative stress as a result of UV radiation. Although it does not block or absorb the sun’s radiation, it increases the safety and efficacy of sunscreens by neutralising the free radicals that sunscreens alone cannot block.


However, the type of Vitamin C product used is important, as water-soluble Vitamin C, such as the pure vitamin C, the ascorbic acid, is unstable and can oxidise when exposed to daylight / sunlight, making it unsuitable for application in the morning. It is wrong to assume that a sunscreen lotion with a SPF50 will remedy this problem. Not only do sunscreen products offer only imperfect protection as explained in the section above, but they are not formulated to prevent the oxidation of pure Vitamin C. When Vitamin C oxidises, it loses or lessens its effectiveness. Therefore, it is important to use a lipid form of Vitamin C, which is non-oxidisable. Skin Diligent Vitamin C Serum in Oil’s contains a lipid Vitamin C, a biotech ingredient, which can be safely applied under a sunscreen product in the morning.


How to repair sun damaged skin?


It's natural for the skin to lose water, a process called TransEpidermal Water Loss or TEWL. Skin loses its hydration as a normal way of trying to cool down the body's temperature. And in the hotter months, more hydration (water & minerals) is lost through transpiration. Sun and hot weather dry up the skin at a factor of multiple times than normal. Dry skin means your skin barrier is less able to protect you and protect itself from external pollutants and pathogens getting through. It also means your fine lines and wrinkles are more visible leading to lacklustre skin.

So along with antioxidants, hydration is key to repair the skin and replenish the skin with lost hydration. In skincare, you will need ingredients such as magnesium, hyaluronic acid, glycerin, prebiotic inulin to help inject hydration to the skin cells, probiotics to help regulate the disturbed skin microbiome, while the peptides can help with the soothing and reparation of the skin cells. All these ingredients are included in our Cellular Hydration Serum. 

At the end of the day as the sun sets in the horizon, it is important to remove the sunscreen product, hydrate the skin cells and add more antioxidants to combat the free radicals. Use Skin Diligent’s Bi-Phase DUO of Cellular Hydration Serum for optimal skin hydration and Vitamin C Serum-in-Oil for powerful antioxidants. The added bonus is that the dry oil form of our Vitamin C Serum-in-Oil will seal all the goodness of the hydration in the Cellular Hydration Serum, without suffocating the skin. 


The ideal sunscreen routine:

In the morning:

  1. Rinse your face in cold or lukewarm water, never hot.
  2. Apply 3-4 drops of Skin Diligent Cellular Hydration Serum.
  3. Apply 3-4 drops of Skin Diligent Vitamin C Serum in Oil.
  4. Apply sunscreen protection.

At night:

  1. Cleanse the face with Skin Diligent Triple Action Cleanser to remove the sunscreen. Leave it to work on the skin for about 20 seconds to remove the combination of sunscreen products and makeup. Rinse well while gently rubbing the skin with your fingertips.
  2. Wet a cotton pad with mineral water or a toner, then wipe your face gently.
  3. Apply Skin Diligent Cellular Hydration Serum.
  4. Follow with 3-4 drops of Skin diligent Vitamin C Serum in Oil if you have spent the day under the sun, otherwise a light moisturising cream. 

If you are a regular of Skin Diligent, you will know that our powerhouse of antioxidants, the Vitamin C Serum-in-Oil is recommend only once a day, in the morning. However, high sun exposure is the only exception where we recommend the serum twice a day.  


BUY the complete 3-step routine here


An adequate nutrition to help your sun exposed skin:

  1. Start eating foods that are rich in beta-carotene and lycopene such as tomatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and watermelons in Spring & Summer. These are the red and orange foods that become abundant in warmer months.
  2. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants like vitamin C and dark green vegetables during the Summer months.
  3. Drink plenty of water and also fruits and vegetables with high water content like cucumbers, melons, pineapples, bell peppers, etc. 
  4. Take our Skin & Stress food supplement to replenish the antioxidants and minerals.



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