Sun Damage and Aging

There are so many things in life that are out of our control- accelerating signs of aging isn’t one of them. Protecting our skin from the sun is essential in preventing skin cancers, and has also been scientifically proven to reduce visible signs of aging. First, let’s unpack what the sun really does to our skin. Once we understand this, we can learn about simple steps we can take to reduce the harsh effects of the sun on our skin.

Effects of Sun Damage:

  • Leathery skin
  • Sunspots and hyperpigmentation
  • Redness due to dilated blood vessels
  • Wrinkles
  • Skin cancer

You’ve probably heard a bunch of terms being thrown around when it comes to sun protection. Understanding what these mean in lay terms holds a lot of power in taking care of our skin.

  • UV Rays: Ultraviolet rays are invisible waves of light that produce radiation. When these rays penetrate the skin, they damage the skin cell DNA. Skin cells in our dermis then produce melanin, a pigment, in the epidermis. This is what we call a tan.
  • UVB Rays: These rays are short, and responsible for sunburn.
  • UVA Rays: These rays are long, and are primarily responsible for photoaging. These rays penetrate the dermis, damaging collagen fibers.
  • SPF: Sun Protection Factor- these numbers on the front of sunscreen bottles indicate the effectiveness of the sunscreen. The higher the SPF, the longer it will protect you. Most dermatologists recommend an SPF of 30 or higher.
  • Broad Spectrum SPF: This indicates that the sunscreen will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. Without an indication of Broad Spectrum SPF, the sunscreen will only block UVB rays.

Protecting Ourselves

  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or more prior to sun exposure.
  • Reapply sunscreen after sweating or entering water.
  • Wear hats and long clothing in the sun when possible.
  • Try to minimize your time in the sun- prioritize the shade!

Treatments for Sun Damage

While there are treatments for signs of damage, the best time to start taking sun protection seriously is… yesterday! The best thing you can do is get into the habit of incorporating sunscreen into your skincare routine every day- even if you don’t go outside UV rays can penetrate through windows. But, topical skin treatments such as retinols, hyaluronic acid, and Vitamin C and E can reduce the appearance of sun damage. Advances in skin treatments such as lasers and light therapies can prove to be effective ways to reduce visible signs of aging. For example, the Divine Pyramid Trifractional RF Resurfacing targets wrinkles, fine lines, skin tightening, and skin resurfacing, including the improved appearance of scars. With minimal discomfort and downtime, using multifaceted treatments can prove to be a useful tool in giving our skin the youthful glow we seek.