Updated: Sep 28
We always hear about how crucial it is to wear SPF. We see the memes all over Instagram. Our estheticians has threatened us about sun protection at least once. We have one friend or family member that loves to remind us about how old we’re getting and how it’s important to stay away from the sun. Has anyone told you why?! Has anyone really sat with you and told you about the in depth reasons we should be fearful of the sun when it comes to aging? It’s one thing to be told what to do but what motivates to do the right thing, is knowing why I should be doing it.
INTERNAL CAUSE OF AGING
First of all, we’re all going to age. Let’s get this fake notion out of our head that we can prevent it from happening naturally. Over time there are internal factors that we can’t fight without plastic surgery and Botox. Chronological skin aging is inevitable. Intrinsic factors like DNA, cell damage and hormonal changes will eventually catch up to us and it causes our skin to look different over time. It’s part of the beautiful process of life.
Overtime as cells divide, it affects the structure of our DNA. Eventually, the cell will no longer be able to divide and it’s becomes inactive and dies. Human cells also have the ability to convert nutrients and oxygen into energy that powers them. This energy production generates free radicals which are harmful molecules that have the ability to damage the cell itself. Basically, cells have an “expiration date”. Hormones are another factor that loves to come after women. Women are more susceptible to hormonally induced aging. After menopause our levels of oestrogen declines. This is the kick-start of skin changes. We’ll experience dryness, loss of suppleness and the ability for our skin to “snap back” in place. We lose elasticity. This is what causes the sagging to happen. It’s important to know not to blame yourself for the appearance of aging. Age gracefully and beautifully because our bodies are just living life and it happens. Stressing about the inevitable is pointless. However there are extrinsic factors that can speed the process or contribute to the aging process and we can actually do something about that.
EXTERNAL CAUSE OF AGING
Guess what contributes to 90% of the visible signs of aging? THE SUN!
The sun is the culprit causing dark marks, pigment issues, sun spots, reduced elasticity, dehydration and wrinkles. There’s UVA and UVB rays. UVA are the aging rays and UVB are the burning rays (uvAGE, uvBURN). The UVA rays have the ability to penetrate the skin more deeply. These rays are ruthless and they penetrate clouds and window glass. So yes, wear SPF indoors and yes wear SPF even when it’s cloudy out. These rays affect the lower dermal layers of the skin. UVB rays have a shorter wavelength and mostly penetrate the upper layers. These rays are responsible for the reddening of the skin and sunburn. We need protection from both kind of rays. It’s important your SPF says broad spectrum to ensure the protection of both UVA and UVB rays.
Half of the damage from UV rays comes from the formation of free radicals which are harmful to our skin cells. The other half comes from direct cell injury and DNA damage. UV light has been shown to activate enzymes that breaks down collagen and damages the skin structure which causes sagging and wrinkles. These enzymes not only destroys collagen but it prevents the production of new collagen. UV light also causes the accumulation of a protein known as progerin that limits the lifespan of the skin cells and prevents them from regenerating.
Once the damage is done it’s nearly impossible to reverse it. The best way to fight the sun is by prevention! It’s also the most cost-effective way to combat signs of aging. Be sure to always include a broad spectrum SPF in your routine.
SPF SKIN TIPS
Make sure you purchase at least an SPF 30. There’s only 3-5% difference in protection between SPF 30, 50 and 100
Reapply every 2 hours or as needed. There are no water proof or sweat-proof SPFs. Manufacturers are required to input how many minutes it can last while swimming or sweating. Usually between 40-80 minutes.
Sunscreen will rub off after towel drying.
Limit exposure of direct sunlight between the hours of 10am and 4pm when the rays are the strongest.
Look for ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, especially if you have sensitive skin.