Over the last 7 weeks, I’ve been talking about skin sins – lifestyle habits that can wreak short- and long-term havoc on your skin. From alcohol to lack of sleep, I’ve covered them all. This week, I’m revealing the last sin in the series – it’s one we all know about, but often overlook: the sun. For the skin-scorching, wrinkle-inducing truth about the effects of UV exposure and your skin, read on!
Though I’ve already talked about how the 6 previous sins can damage skin, leading to signs of aging – nothing tops the age-inducing rays of the sun. A whopping 90% of the visible signs of skin aging is caused by UV damage!* Here’s another statistic that might surprise you: the number one culprit behind the crime isn’t the beach vacation you take every once in a while. Two-thirds of all sun damage is incidental** – it comes from daily activities like your commute to work, workout, or errands. Think you’re safe if your commute is enclosed, or you have a desk job? UV rays can penetrate windows, leaving you vulnerable all day long. Even on cloudy days, 80% of UV rays can pass through the clouds.** Not even winter gives you a pass, as UV rays reflected by the snow puts your skin at increased risk. Are you in denial about sun damage?
While the stats can be daunting, I’m going to talk about the 4 biggest sun side effects, what you can do to reverse the damage, and the one simple solution for prevention.
1. You have a collagen crisis. Repeated UV exposure not only breaks down collagen, but it also stunts new collagen synthesis, leading to sagging skin and wrinkles. An anti-aging night cream can work with your skin’s nighttime repair process to restore firmness and moisture, and help offset the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
2. Spot the problem. Just one stint in the sun can worsen existing hyperpigmentation, while long-term exposure can cause solar lentigines to appear. Spot treat smaller areas of hyperpigmentation with a dark spot corrector and apply an overall skin brightener to boost skin’s radiance.
3. Same sin, new cause. Dehydration – a skin sin you might already be familiar with – is also caused from prolonged UV exposure. Apply a moisture-binding serum underneath your daily moisturizer to lock in hydration and prevent the appearance of fine lines.
4. A chance for cancer. Skin cancer is a risk everyone runs when they spend time outside unprotected. Applying a moisturizing broad spectrum sunscreen every day can help not only prevent 90% of the signs of skin aging – including the ones I just mentioned above, but help deter a disease 1 in 5 Americans will get^. Make it the last step in your morning skin care routine so it becomes a daily habit.
**source: Sun Safety Alliance
^source: the American Academy of Dermatology