Did you know that roughly 90% of aging can be attributed to sun damage? That means 90% of premature aging can actually be avoided altogether. Premature aging is attributed to various factors, and genetics only play a small role in the process.
Sun damage can have many adverse effects on your overall health and lead to various skin conditions signifying older age and the development of more serious complications. While some of these are repairable, others are not. The best way to protect yourself from premature aging is by using sun protection correctly. It’s crucial to always use a sunscreen with SPF of at least 15 or higher on any exposed skin. Additionally, it’s important to reapply sunscreen throughout the day to ensure you’re always protected.
If you’ve found yourself already showing early signs of aging, don’t fret; there’s still time! Here are a few preventative and reparative steps you can take to capsule your youth:
Wrinkles & Fine Lines
Ultraviolet (UV) rays from either the sun or artificial light sources can hinder collagen production in the skin. Collagen is an essential protein that’s important for skin elasticity and firmness. As you age, it’s normal to experience decreased collagen production. However, sun damage can expedite this process.
To counter this, there are a few tricks you can try. First, collagen supplements are easy to take and often come in a powder form, which can be mixed into your food or beverages. You can add a scoop into your hot coffee every morning or mix it into your smoothie. This will help give you the extra boost of collagen your body needs. Additionally, anti-aging products with retinol can stimulate skin cell turnover as well as collagen production. If you choose this route, be sure to only apply retinol products at night and wash them off in the morning, as these can increase sun sensitivity if used incorrectly.
Crows feet are lines that develop around the eyes, often due to squinting too much. These occur because this area is extremely delicate and lacks oil glands. As skin elasticity deteriorates, it has trouble bouncing back to its previous youthful state. Because of the delicacy of this area, it is common for crows feet to appear early in life if exposed unprotected to the sun.
To prevent early signs of crows feet, start by using a moisturizing eye cream that contains SPF. It’s also crucial to wear UV-blocking sunglasses, even on overcast days, as UV rays are still apparent. Lastly, wearing a hat on sunny days can help prevent overexposure to harmful UV rays, while also protecting your face, neck, and ears.
Sunspots, also referred to as liver spots, are flat, brown patches which develop on areas of the skin that have been exposed to the sun. This exposure triggers excess melanin production, leading to the development of darker spots. Sunspots are commonly found on your face, shoulders, back, and the back of your hands.
Most of the time, sunspots don’t pose harmful risks. However, many dislike them for cosmetic reasons. You can effectively treat them by using vitamin C serums, chemical peels, or microdermabrasion treatments. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps stimulate skin regeneration, while also inhibiting melanin production. Chemical peels and microdermabrasion treatments are both typically performed by dermatologists or at a spa for best results.
The sun can drain your skin of moisture very quickly. Heat from the sun can steal essential oils from the skin, causing it to become either flaky or oily. For those with dry or sensitive skin types, you may already have trouble producing enough oils to keep your complexion hydrated. On the other hand, those with traditionally oily or combination skin get their oil zapped by the sun, causing their skin to overcompensate with excess oil. Surprisingly, oily skin does not always mean hydrated skin.
Dehydrated skin can emphasize wrinkles or make your skin look dull. To ensure your skin is optimally hydrated, you should apply a face and body moisturizer year-round and always drink plenty of water. During the summer, you can use a lightweight moisturizer both in the morning and evening.
Many think that aging is only apparent in your skin but, unfortunately, it includes hair too. Sun damage to the hair, whether it’s through overuse of hot tools or from too much sun exposure, can have unfavorable effects on your locks. Hair discoloration, dead ends, frizz, and hair loss are all possibilities with damaged hair.
Nobody wants their hair to make them look older than they really are. To combat these adverse consequences of sun and heat overexposure, it’s important to consistently use a heat protectant to protect your hair from UV abrasion. For optimal protection, spray this on generously before applying any heat to your hair or spending a day out in the sun.