Sun Protection – Your First Step To Prevent Skin Aging


Sun exposure. The prime culprit of extrinsic aging 

Sunlight not only ages you, it can kill you, no matter what the color of your skin. Skin damage by the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun is one of the most important extrinsic causes of facial aging. The important point is that sun protection is the most important yet most often neglected anti-aging and cancer preventing treatment you can use.

Photo aging

Photo aging, a result of sun exposure, is a slow process. It may take several decades before it becomes fully noticeable. 

In fact, 90% of sun damage occurs by the age of 20s, only becoming visible in your early 30s and onwards. 

The degree of photo aging is mainly determined by your skin type and total lifetime sun exposure, and the degree of damage to different areas of the body is directly proportional to the amount of sunlight received.

Sun exposure gives you wrinkles. Sun exposure makes you look old.  

As you age, you can easily see the difference in skin that’s been exposed to sunlight for years (such as the skin on their faces, necks, arms, chests, and lower legs) and skin that’s been protected by clothing (such as the skin on their buttocks and torsos). The exposed skin is generally more wrinkled and discolored and less taut than the unexposed skin.

Sunlight-related aging signs include :

Accelerated wrinkling and sagging
Spider veins and thread veins
Sallowness and brown sunspots
Precancerous solar keratoses, skin cancers 

UV rays speed up the aging process because they promote the production of free radicals

Although there are many causes of free-radical damage to the skin, one of the most insidious is sunlight. What happens when the sun hits your skin is enough to make you shudder. First, as you stroll in the park on a bright, sunny day, the molecules in your skin absorb sunlight. Free radicals are activated. The sunlight also activates an enzyme that breaks down fats in skin cells. This fat breakdown produces a chemical called arachidonic acid, the precursor to molecules that can inflame the skin. And we now know that these inflammatory molecules accelerate the aging of skin.

When you are outside, exposed to the sun :

  • Wear a wide-brimmed hat. You must protect the ears, as well as the face.
  • Wear UV protecting wrap-around sunglasses or sun-protective clothing.
  • Stay out of the sun during the peak hours, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
  • The most beneficial sunscreens are broad spectrum. This means they offer protection against UVA and UVB rays, which are both detrimental to skin.
  • You need at least an SPF of 30, whether you’re playing golf or walking to the store. Doubling the dose of a product with an SPF of 15 will not give you the protection of a 30.  
  • Apply an even coating of sun block using 30 grams or one ounce for the whole body and at least one teaspoon of sunscreen to the face.
  • Apply at least 20 – 30 minutes before going into the sun. The active ingredients need that time to become active.
  • Reapply sun block regularly every two hours, at minimum. It degrades in sunshine and heat and stops working.
  • Be certain to cover the area around your eyes, nose, lips and ears, the parts of your face that get the most sun, but are often missed.
  • Apply sun block even on cloudy days. 80% of UV rays are transmitted on a cloudy day.

The absolute easiest and least expensive way to prevent photo-aging is to use a good, broad-spectrum sunscreen everyday and apply it properly.

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