The sun is a beautiful thing, blanketing us with vitamin D and that warm summer glow. But you can have too much of a good thing. Too many days of summer rays can mean sun damaged skin. Your sun damaged skin is impacted by genetics, age, poor diet, too much alcohol, stress, and of course, sun exposure. All of these things can lead to a breakdown in skin cells which weakens the outer protective layer of epidermis. Once this layer becomes weakened, the skin is more vulnerable to damage. But you can heal sun damaged skin naturally. Here’s how: 1. Eat foods rich in Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential to the production of collagen which keeps your skin firm and wrinkle-free. Citrus fruits, kale, and peppers are all good sources of vitamin C. 2. Get enough high quality protein. Protein rebuilds the cells, replenishing those that have been damaged by the sun. Amp up with lean proteins like fish, eggs, tofu, and beans. 3. Use skin products with vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps rejuvenate sun damaged skin. It’s also great for skin renewal. Look for products with vitamin E as an active ingredient. 4. Get enough zinc. Zinc helps generate collagen similar to vitamin C while also synthesizing protein. Get it from oysters, wheat germ, spinach, pumpkin seeds, nuts, cocoa, beans, and mushrooms. 5. Exercise daily. Exercise naturally gives your sun damaged skin a healthy glow and it also gets your blood pumping the nutrients you need for skin repair. 6. Calm stress. Stress ages already damaged skin. Often times, softening stress can actually soften your skin. Keep stress at bay with yoga, meditation, Tai Chi, or other stress relieving techniques. 7. Up your water intake. Dehydrated skin shows age and wrinkles, especially if it’s sun damaged. Drink ample water, enjoy tons of fruits and vegetables, and avoid dehydrating beverages like alcohol and caffeine. 8. Enjoy essential fatty acids. Omega fatty acids make your skin look more supple. Enjoy salmon, herring, anchovies, seaweed, chia, flax seeds, and cod liver oil to boost your skin’s radiance. 9. Go to sleep. It’s probably the single most effective thing you can do in addition to wearing ample broad spectrum UVA/UVB sunblock. Get enough sleep each and every night. Your skin needs time to repair itself.

Sara Novak is a writer and blogger devoted to living healthfully and mindfully in all of her daily pursuits. Follow her on Twitter at @sarafnovak.