You + Sun Exposure – Sunscreen = Premature Aging

Sun Damage

Skin cancer isn’t the only reason to lather on the sunscreen when heading outdoors, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the main cause of premature skin aging.  Layman’s terms: You are setting yourself up to look much older than you are and at a much younger age than your sunscreen wearing confidants.  Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but hear us out on this one…..

According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 90 percent of the visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging are caused by the sun. You read that correctly: 90 percent!  Other contributing factors are genetics, overall health, hygiene and lifestyle habits.

One way unprotected sun exposure speeds up the aging process is by damaging fibers in the skin called elastin and collagen.  Elastin is what helps your skin return to its normal state after being stretched or moved. (Look in the mirror and make a frown for a few quick seconds.  See any wrinkles or lines?  Let go of your frown and your skin returns to regular.  You just witnessed elastin in progress.) Along with elastin, the sun’s rays start to hamper collagen production as well. Collagen is what provides the skin’s firmness and volume. Breakdown of elastin and collagen over time is quite normal, resulting in fine lines and wrinkles, however the sun’s rays promote this breakdown, resulting in premature fine lines, wrinkles and volume loss.

On the flip side of the premature aging spectrum is where sun spots, also referred to as “liver” spots, and pigmented sun damage come in to play.  Many are not aware that when your skin is anything other than it’s natural tone, as a result from sun exposure, it is showing the immediate damage done to the epidermis, the top layer of your skin. If you want to break it down even further, a sun tan is actually your skin cells trying to defend themselves and a sun burn is situation over load for your cells.

Imagine thousands of tiny little cells yelling “Help me! Help me!” as they are being burned.

Direct, prolonged sun exposure zaps the epidermis, changing the tone (possibly as an accident or for instant gratification), but it doesn’t stop there. The sun’s rays penetrate to lower levels of the skin causing damage as well. Then as we age, accumulated sun damage from lower layers of the skin begins to make its way to the surface. And that’s when the sun spots really begin to appear!  The more often you expose your unprotected skin to the sun, the more sun damage cycles to the surface at a much earlier age.

While we can’t run completely away from aging, we can be PROACTIVE as opposed to REACTIVE when it comes to our skin.  Wear your sunscreen daily, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, add an antioxidant serum to help decrease current sun damage and work to help prevent future sun damage, and consider adding a retinol to your night time regimen.

A few simple steps is all it takes to help ease your skin into its natural aging process.  Besides, people who use sunscreen daily show 24 percent less skin aging than those who do not use sunscreen daily. If you’re already hitting the 90 percent statistic mentioned earlier, why not push to make it into the 24 percent as well? Flip the odds in your favor!

So now that you know the facts, you tell us:  Is tanned skin tomorrow really worth it ten years down the road?

We don’t think so either.

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