Summer Skin Care Part 1: How to Protect Yourself From the Sun
Spending time in the sun without the proper protection can prematurely age your skin.
In addition to the formation of wrinkles, it can also lead to dark spots, sagging and a leathery-looking complexion.
And everyone is at risk of these effects of sun exposure. It doesn’t matter how old you are.
Concerned about your skin getting older before its time? Not to worry — there are some things you can do to keep it looking the most youthful during the summer months.
How Does the Sun Age Your Skin?
First things first, did you know that the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation is responsible for 90% of skin ageing?
It causes the proteins in our skin to deteriorate in the following ways:
- The stem cells die off
- Enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) break down collagen
- An enzyme called cathepsin K breaks down elastin
This then results in thinning, fine lines and the loss of elasticity over time.
How do you combat this? Well, the secret is sun protection.
How Can You Protect Your Skin from the Sun?
Follow these tips all year round to stop skin ageing in its tracks.
1. Wear Sunscreen with a High SPF
Nowadays, it’s not enough to just wear sunscreen. You need to wear sunscreen that is broad-spectrum and will protect you against UVA and UVB radiation.
It also needs to be water-resistant with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Otherwise, you’ll just burn and be vulnerable to skin cancer.
In terms of the amount, use at least one ounce of sunscreen, which is enough to fill a shot glass.
Apply it 15 to 30 minutes before you head outside, even if it’s cloudy, for maximum protection.
2. Reapply Sunscreen Regularly
The general rule of thumb is to reapply sunscreen every two hours.
Alternatively, if you’ve been swimming or sweating, reapply it every hour.
You should also be cautious around water and sand. They can reflect the damaging rays of the sun and increase your chances of getting burnt.
3. Limit the Time You’re in the Sun
The sun’s rays are the most intense between 10am and 4pm. Therefore, try to limit the amount of time you’re in the sun between these times.
Walking, sitting or standing in the shade frequently is also a good way of looking after your skin.
Use the shadow rule. Is your shadow shorter than you? If so, this means that the sun’s rays are at their strongest and you should seek shade.
4. Cover Up as Much as Possible
If you can, wear a long-sleeved top and long trousers when you know you’re going to be in the sun.
In fact, dark clothing made from tightly woven fabric is known to block more sun than lighter clothing made from loosely woven fabric.
What about accessories? Well, a hat that shades your face, neck and ears is a good call.
You should also grab some sunglasses with lenses that have 99% to 100% UV absorption. These will ultimately protect your eyes and the surrounding skin.
5. Avoid Indoor Tanning
Lastly, it’s important to avoid indoor tanning via a tanning bed or other equipment.
These methods emit harmful UV rays that can speed up the skin ageing process.
Instead, use self-tanning lotion as a safer and healthier way to stay bronzed.
When the sun is shining, it’s tempting to get outside and make the most of it without even thinking about how powerful UV rays can affect your skin.
However, you need to be more careful and follow our advice if you want to prolong skin youthfulness for as long as possible.
This is the first post in the “Summer Skin Care” series. Look out for the next post, “Why You Need a High-Quality Moisturiser”, coming soon!