A core step in protecting your skin from aging and looking dull is a skincare step that people often overlook.
There’s proof, slathering sunscreen daily protects your skin against aging. Your skin’s biggest enemy is the sun as it is the main cause of wrinkles on the face. It seems simple but it is absolutely critical – you need to apply sunscreen every day to defend your skin against UVB and UVA rays.
This helps to prevent your skin from wrinkles, dark spots and signs of premature aging.
What exactly are the Benefits of Applying Sunscreen Daily?
- Prevents the damage of skin cells from UV rays
- Prevents the occurrence of freckles, dark spots, damaged skin, and skin cancer
- Protects against wrinkles, premature aging, and dry skin
- Prevents red spots and sunburn
- Leads to an overall healthier skin
- Prevents acne from developing and acne marks from becoming inflamed.
How Do Sunscreens Help to Reduce Wrinkles?
Wrinkles on the face are caused by UVA, UVB rays damaging the structure of collagen and elasticity of the skin cells to deteriorate.
This reduces the skin’s moisture retention performance and cells are more likely to accumulate free radical damage over time leading to premature aging.
This is the reason why sunscreens should be applied every day in order to prevent the skin cells from being damaged and losing its moisture.
The Connection Between UVA and Wrinkles
UVA rays are present all day long even when it’s cloudy. Exposure to UVA stimulates melanin pigment in the upper skin cells leading to immediate pigment darkening and the skin to turn brown in a short time, even within a few hours.
The scary thing is that UVA rays can penetrate into your skin deep into the dermis leading to skin damage, wrinkles, dark spots, and premature aging.
What Exactly is UVA?
UVA or Ultraviolet A (Aging) is a radiation that has a relatively long-wavelength and exists throughout the day. UVA rays can impact our skin by up to 95% and up to 80% even on days with mild sunlight or when it looks like the sun “isn’t out”.
Although UVA and UVB can both damage the skin, UVA is radiation that a lot of people are afraid of. Indeed, more radiation hits the skin and penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin that can harm skin cells.
UVA rays play the greatest role in causing premature aging, wrinkles, and different types of skin cancer.
The Causes of Wrinkles and Premature Aging
Apart from sunlight, there are other factors that cause skin wrinkles and premature aging. Let’s take a look:
As you get older the important substances that naturally help your skin to look firm, hydrated and bright reduce.
For instance, collagen production, unfortunately, declines by approximately 1% each year resulting in the skin losing its elasticity or in other words, the skin will begin to hang loosely.
Plus, wrinkles will start developing at various spots on the face and the moisture will also decline leading the skin to look saggy and crinkled.
Levels of most hormones decrease with aging. However, this varies for each person and is the reason why some look younger than others who are of the same age.
The relationship between hormones and skin cells links to the ability of the hormones to circulate thoroughly into the skin.
Those who have many and sensitive hormonal receptions in their skin cells can capture more hormones efficiently and skin cells are more reactive helping you to achieve a beautiful, firm and youthful skin.
This is an important factor in determining if each person’s skin will change over time. Wrinkles are a natural part of the aging process as the DNA that makes up the genes in our body starts to deteriorate.
Besides, different skin cells have gone through damage over time as we age. Hence, it is normal for the skin to develop wrinkles. However, the aging process can be slow or fast depending on the person.
Generally speaking, people with white skin tone are at higher risks of developing wrinkles because there is less melanin pigment to protect against UV rays.
There are various external factors affecting the occurrence of wrinkles and premature aging. As you age, your body produces fewer antioxidants resulting in the skin being at risk of being damaged by external factors such as sunlight and pollution.
This is especially true for urbaner living in big cities as pollution causes free radicals in the skin. Consuming vegetables and fruits are great ways to help the skin cells to fight against free radicals.
In addition, improper and careless skincare routines often lead the skin to show signs of aging more quickly.
Nicotine from cigarettes that enters into the body can damage your skin structure and cause aging and wrinkles. Nicotine along with other chemicals in cigarettes damage collagen and elastin.
As a result, the facial skin begins to sag, wrinkle develops prematurely and deep scars to grow deeper with time. Smoking also leads to darker lips.
UV from the Sun
UVB rays cause the skin to turn dark while UVA rays lead the skin to age quicker as it directly damages the elastin in the dermis.
As a result, the skin’s structure is weakened and signs of aging such as wrinkles start to appear. The best protection is to apply sunscreen daily.
- Not getting enough sleep does not only cause the skin to become dull but also leads to wrinkles on the face.
- Repetitive movements of muscles such as laughing and frowning causes crow’s feet and wrinkles under the eyes.
- Not drinking enough water as is required for the body. Our body cells are 60% made of water. Therefore, to prevent wrinkles and premature aging, make sure to around 6 – 8 glasses of water per day.
- Consuming sweets and food that are high in sugar causes the skin to lose its flexibility, smoothness and leads to the appearance of wrinkles and dark circles. Excess sugar in your diet destroys the structure of collagen and elastin in the skin.
- Chewing gum especially for a long period of time can cause wrinkles near the lips.
- Drinking alcohol frequently causes the skin to become dehydrated, lose its flexibility and wrinkles to appear easily.
- Our body produces cortisol hormone also known as the stress hormone when experiencing stress. Research has found that cortisol destroys collagen under our skin and accelerates the formation of wrinkles. Gestures and behaviors of stress such as frowning can also lead to wrinkles on the forehead and around the eyes as well.
Sunscreen and Protection against Aging
Sunscreen shields us from harmful UV rays and includes properties that protect against aging. Indeed, an important skin structure that leads to wrinkles is collagen.
Regular use of sunscreen helps to stimulate the regeneration of cells, boost production of collagen and strengthen the elasticity of the skin.
Sunscreens usually contain a mixture of hyaluronic acid that is absorbed into the skin and visibly reduces wrinkles as well as preventing collagen damage.
Equally important, sunscreen helps protect hyaluronic acid in the skin’s layer from high energy visible light.
Types of Sunscreen – Physical VS Chemical
Sunscreens are divided into 2 types:
- Chemical Sunscreens include chemicals that help absorb UVA and UVB rays from reaching the skin
- Physical Sunscreens work by sitting on top of your skin and deflecting UVA and UVB rays. Zinc Oxide and Titanium dioxide are active ingredients. A better option for those with sensitive skin.
The SPF (Sun Protection Factor) indicates how long your skin can be protected from the sun.
Think about it this way, if your skin gets red within 20 minutes in the sun, then a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 should protect you skin 15 times longer, which is 5 hours in total.
Simply put, the higher the SPF the longer the sunscreen should protect your skin.
What Should I Look Out For in Sunscreens?
As we now know, UVA plays a big part in skin aging and wrinkling. Only looking for the SPF is a mistake as SPF is only a measure of protection against UVB rays! Indeed, SPF alone does not measure UVA protection.
Hence, the next time you go looking for a new sunscreen check the labels to ensure that it is protected against UVA rays. Here’s what to look out for to help you get started:
- A sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher with “broad-spectrum” or UVA/UVB protection on it. Broad Spectrum is the key term as it is only allowed on sunscreens that have been tested for UVA protection.
- Look out for UVA filters in the active ingredients on the label such as avobenzone, encapsulate, oxybenzone, titanium dioxide, and zinc oxide.
While there is no complete way to cure aging or stop it from happening, we can definitely slow down the process and minimize its effects.
The most important thing to stay protected is wearing sunscreen every day even when it’s cloudy as UVA rays are present throughout the year. The daily cumulation of sun exposure over time is what will lead to skin damage later on in your life.
The tip is easy and it works! It’s time to slow down signs of aging and the good news is your aging miracle is within your reach.