The Best Ways to Protect Yourself from Sun Damage

The Best Ways to Protect Yourself from Sun Damage

Introduction

It is not a new fact that the sun is our skin’s worst enemy. It is such a pity because we do love the sun so much! When the weather is nice and warm and the sun is bright and shining, there’s nothing we want more than to be on a beach feeling the sun rays on our skin. Unfortunately, the sun causes so much damage to our skin that even just going about your daily routine without sunscreen can affect our skin. So imagine how much havoc we are wreaking on our skin by spending hours under the sun when on holiday! 

It’s also just not possible to avoid the sun completely, we can’t stay cooped up indoors all day long. It would be impractical. So how do we solve this dilemma? Well, the easiest way to do so is to get serious about our sun protection and cultivate some good habits in ensuring that we use the proper products and take the necessary precautions before spending prolonged time under the sun.

What kind of SPF should I use?

Sun protection fluid seems to be a major point of confusion for many people. There are lots of sunscreens on the market but you might not be sure which to choose, and what properties a good sunscreen should have. Picking the right sunscreen is absolutely crucial because it is the first line of defense against sun damage. Prevention is always better than cure, so cultivating a good practice of using sunscreen from a young age will help deter the effects of aging, sun damage, and even skin cancer. First, let’s go through the features of a good sunscreen. SPF stands for “sun protection factor”, which is usually a number that indicates how long you can stay under the sun and protected before you are at risk of getting a sunburn. If a sunscreen has an SPF of 15, and you are someone who usually gets sunburnt after 10 minutes, the sunscreen will offer you sun protection for up to 15 times longer. So you can stay under the sun for 150 minutes without getting burnt. Of course, this numerical number is not a for-sure and there are many other environmental factors or variables that can reduce this hypothetical length of time. Also, keep in mind that sunscreen can wear off during your activities, perspire, or when it rubs against your clothes. 

One of the biggest misconceptions surrounding SPF is that the higher the number the better. People tend to associate a higher SPF number with the strength of the sunscreen, However, SPF only takes into account UVB, ultraviolet burning rays. There are also UVA, ultraviolet aging rays, which are responsible for aging your skin, causing sun damage, and even skin cancer. Another misconception is that you are getting double the sun protection from a sunscreen with twice the SPF number as another. That’s not necessarily true, and the most important thing to remember with sunscreen is to reapply it.  

Here is a simple guide to using sunscreen to effectively protect your skin: 

  1. Buy a sunscreen with an SPF value of at least 15. 
  2. Your sunscreen should contain ingredients like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, and Mexoryl as these ingredients offer protection against UVA rays.

To make sure you’re adequately protected, you need to:

  1. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher.
  2. Look for ingredients such as zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, or Mexoryl, which offer you protection against UVA rays. 
  3. You need to apply a sufficient amount of sunscreen to work. Many people don’t apply enough which lowers the efficiency of the product. A good gauge is to use at least one tablespoon worth of sunscreen to get adequate protection. You also need to apply sunscreen to your neck and ears as these areas are also very susceptible to burning. 
  4. You have to reapply your sunscreen every three to four hours if you are going to be under the sun for the whole day. Also, reapply after you take a shower or have a swim.

How can I improve my skin if I am already seeing the onset of sun damage?

If you are more mature and spent a lot of time under the sun in your younger years, chances are you have already seen the effects. Sun damage exacerbates and accelerates the aging process, leaving your skin wrinkles and spotted before it’s time. With that being said, there are certainly some steps that you can take to reduce the look of wrinkled, dry, and sagging skin. 

Use vitamin A-derivatives

Vitamin A derivatives are the dermatologists’ go-to for aging skin. It is the best way to combat photoaging, which is aging caused by sun damage. Vitamin A derivatives come in the form of retinoids such as retinoic acid and adapalene. You can get retinoids from beauty stores and over-the-counter, or from your dermatologist if you want a stronger, prescription-strength product. What vitamin A derivatives do is speed up the process of cell turnover, replenishing old skin cells with new ones at a faster rate and hence rejuvenating and revealing newer layers of skin. Aging slows down the natural exfoliation process, hence the skin often looks dull due to the build-up of dead skin cells on the surface. You will see a brightening and reduction in the look of wrinkles. 

Add a glycolic acid serum

Glycolic acid is a really good anti-aging ingredient because it is an excellent chemical exfoliator. It has many benefits, including being a gentle exfoliator to remove dead skin cells, fading out sunspots, improving the elasticity and suppleness of the skin, and evening out the texture and skin tone. 

Incorporate a product with Vitamin C 

Vitamin C is one of the most potent ingredients for your skin. It works amazingly well as a topical treatment and is a very common ingredient in many anti-aging serums. Vitamin C can do lots of things, including fighting the free radicals that damage skin and cause aging. Add a Vitamin C serum to your routine to experience benefits like even skin tone and a brighter complexion. It can also help to fade any spots and pigmentation, and boost the production of collagen and elastin! You can combat the effects of aging very effectively with vitamin C’s antioxidant powers.

Conclusion

The effects of sun damage can be very hard to reverse, so get serious about your sun protection and you will stay wrinkle and spot-free for much longer!

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