It can be tough to think about wrinkles and dark spots when you look in the mirror and see a smooth, even complexion. But even in your 20s and early 30s, it’s best to think of anti-aging as a strategy. It’s way better to prevent and protect now than it is to treat and correct later, when the damage has been done. Luckily, your not-so-secret weapon for gorgeous skin couldn’t be simpler: look no further than sunscreen!
Sun Damage is Cumulative and it Starts When We’re Young
Just because changes in your skin aren’t happening overnight, doesn’t mean they aren’t happening at all. Starting from the first time you were exposed to the sun as a child, your skin has been accruing damage. So if you skipped the sunscreen during all those softball practices in junior high or used a tanning bed before prom, your skin has already been subjected to quite a bit of exposure. Sunscreen is key to slowing down the aging process! While you can’t erase what’s already done, you can slow down the effects and prevent future damage.
Sun Exposure is the Leading Cause of Premature Wrinkles
Studies show that repeated exposure to harmful UVA and UVB rays impairs the skin’s ability to repair itself. Collagen, the protein responsible for giving skin a smooth, firm appearance, is broken down, and the damage prevents new collagen from being formed. The sun also destroys elastin fibers so that skin loses its flexibility. This leads to fine lines, wrinkles, a crepey look and sagging. A fancier term for all this is “photoaging.”
The Sun Causes Damage to DNA
Yep, the assault to skin cells runs that deep. UVA and UVB radiation can alter our skin cells’ chemical makeup. What some call a healthy glow is actually your skin signaling for help! A tan is an over-production of melanin, the substance responsible for skin pigment, and it’s your body’s way of protecting against more damage. But eventually, with repeated sun exposure, the skin cells that produce melanin can mutate and divide, causing dark spots, an uneven skin tone and hyperpigmentation.
Skin Cancer Rates Are on the Rise
Sun exposure has been linked to all types of skin cancer, including the most dangerous form, melanoma. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, at least 90% of cases in the United States are due to sun exposure. This means that skin cancer is almost completely preventable!
Stop It All with Sunscreen
These facts are definitely alarming, but they’re not meant to scare you! Applying and reapplying a sunscreen with an SPF of 30 every day can help prevent all forms of damage, including signs of aging and skin cancer.
It’s about time you found a favorite! Check out some of our go-to sunscreens for every skin type.
What’s your favorite sunscreen? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #LovelySkin!