The sun: mankind has had a very long love affair with it. In addition to bringing and sustaining life, exposure to the sun makes people feel and look good; it gives us the glow of health and vitality – for a short while.
Repeated, unprotected exposure to the sun’s rays actually causes most of the skin changes and damage usually attributed to aging. That warm radiance obtained from baking in the sun (or a tanning booth) actually accelerates the aging process because the ultraviolet (UV) light breaks down the elastin in the skin, causing it to sag and develop fine to coarse wrinkles.
Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although you can boost your skin’s health and the skin can somewhat repair itself, especially with on-going care and protection. Follow these tips to help protect your skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays:
Always apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater (for UVB protection) and zinc oxide (for UVA protection) at least 20 minutes before sun exposure and every 2 hours afterward, especially if swimming or sweating.Thanks to new guidelines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it’s easier to choose an effective sunscreen because the new standards prohibit companies from marketing sunscreens as “water proof”. Labels must now indicate whether a sunscreen protects against UVA rays that are primarily linked to skin cancer and wrinkles.
Fine lines and wrinkles caused by normal muscle contractions in the face and repeated facial expressions can become more pronounced by sun damage. A program* of non-invasive Face and Body endermologie® treatments may help improve the appearance of wrinkles and damaged skin. They include the Cellu M6® endermologie® machine, which treats the face and body, and the portable Mobi M6® for treatments on the face, neck and hands – all sites that are often particularly affected by repeated or prolonged sun exposure.
Sleep is essential for healthy skin – and not getting enough quality sleep every night actually does make skin look tired and older, especially when accompanied by shadows or bags under the eyes. Poor quality sleep can become a vicious cycle because lack of sleep can cause irritability, anxiousness and depression, which in turn make it harder to get quality sleep.
Use a daily moisturizer on all parts of the body normally exposed to the sun. Make sure the moisturizer contains an SPF of at least 15. Keep in mind that facial skin is more sensitive to sun damage than the rest of the body, so choose products that contain vitamins and antioxidants, which help neutralize harmful toxins.
Too often, people forget to protect sensitive spots like the tops of the ears, the hairline, the “V” of the chest, the nose and the hands. And yes – even the scalp can get sunburned. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, nearly 80 percent of skin cancers occur on the head, neck and hands, so try to remember a hat when outdoors for any length of time – preferably one made of a tightly woven fabric such as canvas rather than of straw.
Avoiding the sun, even on cloudy days, is unrealistic, but going out well protected is half the battle – the other half is choosing the right program of skin care.
*Face and Body endermologie® employs Mécano-stimulation™, a non-invasive, non-aggressive, safe technique which can significantly improve skin quality.