Sun-Aging and How To Prevent It
We love summer just as much as the next person, but with enjoying the warmth of the sun comes some serious risks of sun-aging and sun exposure! We know that you’re aware of taking the right precautions when you’re out in the sun, like wearing sunscreen and other protection, but we wanted to go a little more in-depth when it comes to how to prevent sun-aging.
What is sun-aging? Is it the same thing as sun damage or sunburn? What causes sun-aging? These are all questions that we’re going to answer in this post so that you can be informed and ready to protect your beautiful skin.
Read on to find out what sun-aging is.
What Exactly Is Sun-Aging?
If you’re reading this, you might be wondering what we’re even talking about when we say the term “sun-aging.” This term is used to describe what can happen when you’re in the sun and are exposed to possible sun damage.
Sun-aging, also known as photoaging, is what can happen when UV rays hit the skin that doesn’t have any SPF protection. The ultraviolet light causes DNA changes at a cellular level, which then causes premature aging, or sun damage. Signs of aging skin include fine lines, sagging skin, and other forms of skin damage.
If you’re wondering how you can tell if you’re experiencing sun-aging, it can be shown through wrinkling, age spots, redness, and more.
What Causes Sun-Related Skin Aging?
Basically, when UVA and UVB rays come in contact with unprotected skin, they cause changes in the DNA within your cells, which is what puts you at risk for skin cancer and aging. Want to know more about what this means? Take a look at how exactly the sun’s rays affect your skin.
This type of light is what affects most layers of your skin, and why it’s extremely important to use sun protection. UV exposure can damage all layers of your skin, from the epidermis to the dermis. All of these layers have different parts that can be damaged, like collagen and elastin fibers, which are what keep your skin bouncy and youthful. This is also where your capillaries can be damaged, which is what causes things like spider veins.
Overexposure to these rays affects the outside layer of your skin (the epidermis). This form of UV light is what really damages the DNA in the epidermis and causes changes to the look of your skin. You’ll notice the effects of this type of UV radiation through age spots, redness, and wrinkles.
Knowing the Signs of Sun-Aging
We’ve touched on some of the ways you can tell if you’re experiencing sun-aging already. Keep your eye out for things like dark spots appearing on your skin, redness, or broken veins. There are more signs than this, so it’s always a good idea to have regular visits to your dermatologists.
You’ll also be able to tell if you’re at risk for sun-aging if you’ve experienced a lot of sun damage already, like bad sunburns that have blistered you. If this is you, check with your dermatologist so they can make sure there aren’t any early signs of skin cancer.
Along with these signs, it’s also wise to keep track of any moles and freckles you have. Check them regularly so you can detect any changes among them, like bleeding, shape change, or color change.
Are You More Likely To Experience Sun-Aging?
Of course, everybody is at risk of sun-aging, but there are some who are more likely to experience it than others. Is this you? We’ll go through several of the qualities you may have that put you more at risk for this than others.
The amount of sun-aging you have will depend on many different factors, like how much sun your skin gets, how much sun damage you’ve gotten in your lifetime, where you live, and how fair your skin is. Even something like having a family history of skin cancer can affect your chances of sun-aging.
Read below a scale known as the Fitzpatrick’s Scale to find out how at-risk you are for encountering sun-aging.
- Type 1: Very fair skin, light-colored eyes, light hair such as blonde or red, always burns and does not tan.
- Type 2: Fair skin types and light eyes, can burn easily but can also tan.
- Type 3: Medium-light skin that burns in the sun but turns into a tan.
- Type 4: Light brown skin that tans and rarely burns.
- Type 5: Medium-brown skin that doesn’t often burn.
- Type 6: Dark brown skin that tans easily and does not burn.
How Can You Treat Sun-Aging?
This is the question you might be asking yourself after reading all about the signs and risks of accelerating the natural aging process. Is there a way you can treat it? The short answer is yes, but not so much in a way that reverses the damage it’s caused. Keep reading to find out what we mean.
While you can’t always reverse the things the sun has already done to your skin, there are some ingredients in certain products that can reduce the look of issues like dark spots and sunburns. Our advice is to make sure you’re doing everything you can to prevent sun damage so you won’t have to worry about the effects it can have.
If you want to reduce the looks of age spots and wrinkles, look for skin care and anti-aging products that contain niacinamide, azelaic acid, or vitamin A that can help you fade any dark pigmentations and can help with elasticity as well.
As we said, it’s best to prevent sun-aging before you have side effects that you want to get rid of. To do this, make sure you’re avoiding peak sun hours (which vary from season to season), wearing the right clothing items to shield you from the sun, like hats, cover-ups, and sunglasses, and using a sunscreen with a broad, high SPF (sun protection factor).
These things will all help your chances of not getting any sun damage, which will in part help you from having to deal with dark spots, wrinkles, and more. A broad-spectrum sunscreen will help protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. To make sure you’re getting the most protection from your sunscreen, we recommend wearing one with an SPF of 30 or higher.
Make Sure To Cover Up With Protective Clothing
We spoke above about how important it is to properly cover up when you’re out in the sun. Lucky for you, there are many different and stylish ways you can accomplish this! Of course, you can wear a sun hat and sunglasses, but you can wear more to protect your skin even further.
Our favorite way to cover up in the sun is to wear a kimono tunic cover-up, or a super comfortable pair of swim shorts to add a little coverage to the bottom. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to wear cute clothing to protect yourself from possible sun damage while still looking fashionable.
We hope this helped clarify why sun-aging is, and how you don’t have to be fearful of it. Take these tips and do what you can to take care of your precious skin.
Photoaging (Sun Damage) | Yale Medicine
An Essential Checklist to Reversing Sun Damage and Dark Spots | Healthline