As someone who grew up on the beaches of Southern California, not a day went by where an older, very wrinkly, and still suspiciously tan person would pull me aside to lecture me about safe suncare and the effects of sun damage. The stern warning always ended in “If only I knew then what we know now. Do you want to look like me when you’re older?!”
SUN'S ROLE IN AGING
Any skin care professional will tell you the sun plays the biggest role in early aging and the only real anti-aging technique is prevention.
We’ve come a long way from the old-timers’ days of lathering up with coconut oil and laying out with reflectors pointed at their faces, but there is still so much more we can do to prevent sun damage and the early signs of aging that come with it.
8 WAYS TO PROTECT AGAINST SUN DAMAGE
The most important thing you can do is decrease sun exposure and time spent in direct sunlight. We’ll go over a few ways to help minimize sun exposure, as well as some lesser-known tips for preventing sun damage to your skin.
BUSINESS AS USUAL
You know the drill: wear sunscreen ALWAYS, cover yourself up as much as possible when outdoors, and try to stay inside during peak UV ray hours.
1. WEAR SUNSCREEN
Make sunscreen a part of your daily routine. They now make powder and liquid concealer and foundation with sunscreen in the formula, so for those who wear makeup, it could be as easy as switching to a brand with sunscreen.
For everyone else, the best thing to do is to make it a habit, like brushing your teeth. Every morning, apply a facial sunscreen and body sunscreen that contains an spf of 30 or higher to the areas of your body that will be exposed to the sun.
2. WEAR YOUR PROTECTION
Your best friend is a wide-brimmed hat. Whether your style is cowboy hat, sunhat, or straw hat, just make sure it covers your face, neck, and even shoulders if it's possible. But you can’t forget about the rest of your body.
You can find lightweight, breathable long sleeves and leggings to go under any outfit to protect your entire body.
3. AVOID PEAK UV HOURS
If you can avoid it, don’t go outside during peak UV hours, generally between 10 am and 3 pm, but this varies depending on where you live. This is when the sun’s rays are the strongest and can do the most damage to your skin in the shortest amount of time.
4. ANTIOXIDANTS IN SKIN CARE
With exposure to the sun the free radicals, cancer-causing agents, in our body become more active. Antioxidants are a key player in protecting against environmental stressors.
External and internal consumption of antioxidants is highly encouraged to help prevent sun damage because when it comes to antioxidants, you really can never get too much.
5. FACIAL SERUMS
Finding a facial serum that contains antioxidants will help protect your skin from environmental stressors. You can incorporate it into your skin care routine, applying it at night to nourish your skin after a long day in the sun.
ANTIOXIDANTS IN FOOD
As was stated above, it’s imperative to try and consume as many antioxidants as you can. Here are some foods loaded with quality antioxidants.
5. WILD SALMON
Salmon has a unique type of antioxidants—a carotenoid antioxidant known as astaxanthin—that fights against free radicals and helps prevent cell damage.
When shopping for salmon always make sure to choose wild salmon to avoid added hormones and other toxins.
6. BLUBERRIES, BLACKBERRIES, AND STRAWBERRIES
Your favorite berries are all high in catechins which also help fight against UV ray damage. The most effective catechin is Epigallocatechin-3 Gallate (EGCG).
7. GREEN TEA AND COCA
Green tea is one of the highest sources of EGCG. The deeper and richer the color of your green tea the more EGCG it contains.
Some studies suggest that supplements of cocoa, vitamin E, vitamin C, and beta-carotene can help protect skin from sun damage.