Aging skin is unavoidable. However, exposure to the sun contributes dramatically to the premature aging of our skin resulting in wrinkles, leathery skin, and skin discoloration to name a few. Most importantly it can increase the chance of developing skin cancer. And as we age our skin is even more susceptible to the detrimental effects of the sun. Did you know that according to studies reported in the Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigatory Dermatology medical journal that the sun’s rays account for 80 percent of extrinsic skin aging? Furthermore although we usually think of protecting our skin during the summer when we are at the pool or beach, damage from the sun can occur any time your skin is exposed to the sun such as riding in the car, during cool weather and when the sky is cloudy.
Fortunately we can protect our skin and prevent premature aging and cancer. The first sign that the skin has been affected by the sun is sunburned or even tanned skin. However, there is also damage that cannot be seen. The DNA in the skin cells is also damaged during exposure. When damaged the cells no longer have their protective function. In other words if your aging skin is regularly exposed to sunlight, and you do not use necessary protection, your skin will lose the ability to repair itself. That is definitely concerning and worth attention!
I remember when I was younger I thought I didn’t need to worry about the effects of the sun and wrinkles were not a thought that even crossed my mind. How many of you used to slather yourself with baby oil and lay in the sun? What were we thinking? Now that my skin is definitely aging I am more aware of things that further impact the process and definitely don’t want to hurry it along! ( I am also grateful that my children are more aware of the importance of protecting their skin than I was at their ages.)
Below are some common sense, simple precautions to help you avoid the negative effects of the sun on your skin.
Wear Sunscreen Everyday and Reapply
Most of us slather ourselves with sunscreen when at the pool or beach. However we are exposed to the sun’s rays during daily activities. So make sure to use a sunscreen with SPF of at least 30 every day on your face!. If you use a moisturizer, look for one with SPF.
And remember that no sunscreen is completely waterproof, sweat proof, or rub proof.! So reapply often. To help you know when it’s time to reapply or get out of the sun read the label on your sunscreen and set an alarm on your watch as a reminder.
Lips are Skin Too!
Our lips are also vulnerable to painful sunburns. The sun impacts the development of lip lines and wrinkles associated with aging. Remember to always apply (and reapply at least every hour) a lip-protection balm.
Avoid Prime Time and Seek Shade
UV rays are strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If you’re out during these hours, stay in the shade under a beach umbrella or a big leafy tree. And make sure and wear sunscreen!
Wear a Hat
Wearing a hat with a wide brim can provide additional sun protection for skin on your face, ears, and neck. “Every 2 inches of brim lowers your skin-cancer risk by 10 percent.”—Darrell Rigel, M.D., Clinical Professor of Dermatology, New York University. So go shopping and pick out a cute hat or two!
Protect Your Eyes
The skin around our eyes is one of the first areas to show signs of aging. Sunglasses help shield the skin around your eyes from skin-aging UV rays. Opt for a pair clearly labeled to block 99 percent of UV rays. Wider lenses or glasses that wrap around best protect the delicate around your eyes.
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