ICYMI, the sun’s UV rays are the number-one cause of premature ageing. Most of us think we only need to wear sunscreen to stop our skin from burning, so we apply it when we’re tanning or on vacay – this is not true as wearing sunscreen is a 365-day-a-year deal. It’s actually crazy that 90% of how your skin ages is completely within your control, and it’s directly related to sun exposure.
Protecting your skin from UV rays is crucial to stop your skin from ageing faster. Yep, sun exposure can really speed up the process. So we spoke to an expert to get more intel on the link between anti-ageing and sun protection. Celebrity Cosmetic Dermatologist Dr.Chytra Anand is the founder of Kosmoderma Clinics and SkinQ and has tons of insights about how the sun adversely affects your skin. Keep scrolling to get the scoop.
Dr. Chytra Anand confirmed the correlation between sunscreen and ageing, telling us, “Sunscreen really does prevent signs of ageing when applied consistently and regularly.” Damage from UV rays is the main culprit in the signs that we recognise as premature aging. The most common signs include wrinkles, dullness, uneven pigmentation, and brown spots. If you don’t believe us, take a look at skin that doesn’t get much sun exposure like on the buttocks, and tell us if you see any wrinkles and brown spots there.
“When the UV rays from the sun hit our skin, it causes free radical damage by releasing free radicals in the skin. The free radicals then go on to release scavenger molecules which attach themselves to healthy skin cells. These scavenger molecules are responsible for causing the disintegration of healthy skin cells which leads to premature ageing,” explains Dr. Chytra Anand. Along with that, UV radiation also excites the skin cells because of the irritation and damage, which leads to increased skin cell production, including pigmentary cells or the melanin cells, which leads to hyperpigmentation and melasma exacerbation.
On the third front, it leads to a lack of hyaluronic acid in the skin because it causes dehydration in the skin. And the skin is not able to repair itself with constant UV exposure, leading to dehydration. So all of these are contributing factors to signs of ageing.
While chemical sunscreens have been the gold standard for sun protection for years, recently, physical formulas, otherwise known as mineral sunscreens, have grown in popularity and taken over the majority of the market. “No matter the kind of sunscreen you choose, one of the critical factors to look at is that your SPF is a minimum of 30 to 40,” says Dr. Chytra Anand.
There’s not a lot of difference between SPF 40 and a 50 and higher. Higher SPF does not mean higher protection. The difference in the percentage of protection between 30 to 40 and 50 is about a .5% to 1% only. So ensure that you have enough of the sunscreen that you use. Typically, you got to use at least 1 to 1.5 ML of the product per use, and you’ve got to apply it every three to 4 hours for it to be the correct application. And look for a PA rating. PA+ basically refers to the amount of protection grade the sunscreen offers against the harmful UVA rays. From low to extremely high – the rating differs. If you’re buying a sunscreen, anything with PA+++ offers high protection and is good enough. Look for the term broad spectrum when you’re choosing your sunscreen. As we know there are two types of sun rays i.e., UVA and UVB. UVA rays are responsible for causing age spots and wrinkles while UVB causes the burning. Broad-spectrum sunscreens provide protection against both kinds.
Look for sunscreens that have built-in Vitamin C, because Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps prevent signs of ageing. Alternatively, applying a Vitamin C serum before slathering on your sunscreen will do the trick. There are no particular ingredients that one must look out for but there are newer formulations that have built-in antioxidants like Vitamin C. These are much more efficient because they reduce tanning, pigmentation, and dull skin.
You need to be wearing SPF every damn day!
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