When it comes to sun exposure, we hear so much about preventative SPF use but comparatively little about natural ways to address sun damage. Read on to learn why antioxidants are what you’re missing from your sun exposure routine—and discover our top ingredient for a naturally antioxidant-rich moisturizer, sea buckthorn berry oil.

It’s true that the best way to fight sun damage is to prevent it with regular SPF use. But what happens when we inevitably forget to reapply, grab an expired SPF, sweat it off, or underestimate the UV strength on some days? Even in cloudy biomes, UV rays can easily reach our skin, so it’s easy to be underprepared. While SPF is the ultimate preventative skincare product, it usually has little to offer in combating sun damage when UV rays break through, and it may not significantly contribute to nourishing your skin barrier. Furthermore, unless you use a hydrating SPF formula, it seldom prevents the TEWL (transepidermal water loss) that can lead to sun-related fine lines and other signs of aging. 



Enter sea buckthorn berry oil: an antioxidant-rich, highly moisturizing natural oil that can complement your SPF usage to fight oxidative damage and protect your skin barrier during and after sun exposure. But what makes antioxidant-rich moisturizers the missing element of your sun exposure routine?

In Today’s Post, You Will Learn:



Although there are several ways that sun exposure creates environmental stress for our skin, the most notable is via UVA and UVB radiation. UV rays can alter important compounds in our skin, including our DNA structure within exposed skin cells. In the worst cases, altered DNA in our skin cells can lead to skin cancer, which is one of the biggest risks associated with sun exposure. However, some of the other symptoms are much more widespread: hyperpigmentation, redness, dark spots, fine lines, loss of elasticity, collagen degradation, signs of aging, and more. And the risks don’t immediately stop when we move into shade—50% of sun damage occurs after leaving the sunny environment.




A standard broad-spectrum SPF will protect against both UVA and UVB rays (but make sure to check, since some SPFs only address one part of the spectrum). However, to stop sun damage in its tracks when SPF misses some of these UV rays, our best defender is antioxidants. The term antioxidants refers to the ability of these compounds to counteract oxidative damage


While UV radiation will oxidize our skin cells and release harmful free radicals throughout the skin, antioxidants work to neutralize these free radicals and intercept the ongoing oxidative damage from sun exposure. This is especially important to interrupt sun damage that occurs indoors in the hours following sun exposure, since the process of oxidative damage can be cut short with the right defenders. 


Our favorite natural source of antioxidants is sea buckthorn berry oil, which contains a rich dose of a range of antioxidants including carotenoids, tocopherols, flavonoids, tannins, phenolic acids, ascorbic acid, and more. When the oil is kept fresh and extracted with a minimally disruptive process like CO2 Supercritical Extraction—both of which we prioritize—you can enjoy the full range of its antioxidant benefits. We will come back to the benefits of this oil & other natural sun damage protectants soon!


Read more about antioxidants and sun exposure



The second biggest stressor to consider with sun exposure is the occurrence of transepidermal water loss (TEWL), often at an accelerated rate. Our natural line of defense against skin damage is known as the skin barrier, made up of three elements: the lipid layer, our pH balance, and the microbiome. All three of these layers rely on proper hydration to carry out their protective functions. In a state of dehydration, our skin barrier can easily fall into a state of imbalance where it struggles to fight off pathogens or maintain its structural integrity. A compromised skin barrier can lead to acne, loss of elasticity, and various forms of hyperpigmentation, among other symptoms.


To maintain the natural defenses of our skin, we can support the lipid layer of our skin barrier by using an effective moisturizing oil or balm. Because oil and water don’t mix, our lipid layer helps prevent water from passing through the skin barrier, protecting our precious skin hydration. When we retain healthy hydration levels during and after sun exposure, our skin is less vulnerable to the maleffects of sun exposure, as well as more capable of regeneration and healing. Our skin will use this hydration to protect us from pathogens, maintain our skin structure, and support the cell turnover process that replaces damaged skin cells with new cells.


Clearly, a solid moisturizer is an invaluable part of skin protection during sun exposure—but not all moisturizers are created equal. Many mass-produced moisturizers contain highly processed forms of their natural ingredients, which can have longer shelf lives and lower production costs. However, these highly processed formulas lack the nutrient profile of antioxidant-rich natural moisturizers, which means they may protect hydration but won’t fight oxidative damage


For a moisturizing step that both fights oxidative damage AND protects our skin from transepidermal water loss, we can look to antioxidant-rich plant oils and balms. Sea buckthorn berry oil is one of the most nutrient-rich oils available, teeming with an impressive 190 nutrients and phytonutrients, including the rare Omega-7 fatty acid. It is highly moisturizing without clogging the skin—its rich linoleic acid content helps regulate sebum production so that it is suitable for both dry and oily skin types. 


By now we know that sea buckthorn berry oil has an impressive nutrient profile of vitamins, antioxidants, and fatty acids and is highly moisturizing. But does this really make it the best option for natural ingredients that protect against sun damage? Here’s what makes sea buckthorn oil so uniquely beneficial for protecting and regenerating our skin:


  • It is rich in beta-carotene, which offers additional UV protection.
  • It contains a rich dose of a range of antioxidants —including carotenoids, tocopherols, flavonoids, tannins, phenolic acids, ascorbic acid, and more—which help fight oxidative damage.
  • It has the highest percentage of the rare Omega-7 available in the natural world, which supports the skin barrier, cellular renewal, and skin elasticity.
  • It contains plentiful sitosterol, which naturally stimulates collagen production.
  • It contains linoleic acid, which helps regulate sebum production for the perfect moisture balance.
  • It contains flavonoids and polyphenol, which help prevent collagen degradation.
  • It is rich in Vitamin A and E, which help promote a smooth complexion.


Few ingredients really deserve the moniker of a skincare holy grail, but don’t you think sea buckthorn oil has earned it? It’s truly an impressive little berry!


At Apoterra, we believe in a holistic herbalist approach to skincare informed with modern scientific research. So, despite all of the incredible benefits of sea buckthorn oil, we knew we could enhance it even more with a purposefully crafted natural formulation. Here are some other impactful ingredients that you can include in your sun damage routine—all found in our Sea Berry Balancing Oil and Vitamin C Regenerative Balm alongside the holy grail sea buckthorn berry oil


  • Prickly Pear Seed Oil protects against free radicals, refines uneven texture, helps prevent premature aging, provides nutrients, and brightens the complexion. It contains Vitamin K, a plentiful dose of Vitamin E, and belatins (a super antioxidant).
  • Immortelle Essential Oil has amazing healing and regenerative properties, great for diminishing redness and accelerating blemish healing.
  • Pomegranate Oil is high in flavonoids and antioxidants (including ellagic acid) that help prevent UV damage. It also contains the rare fatty acid Omega-5 (punicic acid), which is known to soothe the skin and prevent moisture loss. 
  • Evening Primrose Oil is brimming with Gamma-linoleic acid, an Omega-6 fatty acid that is crucial to the development of cell membranes. It is known to reduce transepidermal water loss and enhance skin moisture, elasticity, firmness, and texture.
  • Our Chamomile & Calendula Jojoba Oil Infusion combines two flowers known for their powerful calming and reparative properties within a highly moisturizing jojoba oil medium. Jojoba oil mimics our skin’s natural oils to seamlessly provide lightweight moisture without clogging (and even helps balance sebum production!). 

    Psst! You can now get our two best-selling sea buckthorn oil products in the Sea Berry Holy Grail Duo to bundle & save 15%, compared to the price of purchasing separately.

    Are you feeling informed and prepared to fight sun damage in the upcoming season while getting your Vitamin D & serotonin? We certainly hope learning about the benefits of antioxidant-rich ingredients like sea buckthorn oil has made you feel empowered to stop sun damage in its tracks! If you have more questions, feel free to reach out to us via email or social media—our team of dedicated experts is always happy to support your journey to informed skincare practices that support & restore the health of your skin. Enjoy the sunny days ahead! 


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