Amidst all the serums, lotions and oils lining your bathroom cabinets, you are likely missing the most important anti-ageing product of them all: sunscreen. Sunscreen can assist significantly with premature skin ageing by helping to prevent sun damage. Sun damage is one of the biggest causes of pigmentation, wrinkles and fine lines. Add a body and face sunscreen to your daily routine to protect your complexion and help improve the appearance of your skin over time.
THE LINK BETWEEN SUN DAMAGE & AGEING
Most of the time when you discover a new blind pimple, it will still be small. Take this opportunity to ice it by holding a clean cold pack to the area for three rounds of five minutes on, ten minutes off. The cold will help to reduce inflammation and swelling.
At the top of the list of premature ageing causes is sun damage. UVA and UVB are the two types of ultraviolet radiation that reach the Earth’s surface, both contributing to premature ageing. UVA light in particular penetrates deep into the skin, causing damage to the collagen and elastin fibres that provide our skin with its elasticity, strength and suppleness. Collagen and elastin occur naturally within the skin; however, collagen begins to deplete over time as we age. Sun damage can hasten this process, resulting in premature signs of ageing including skin laxity, and fine lines and wrinkles.
This means that UVA sun damage causes wrinkles, thinning of the skin and other signs of premature ageing with its direct damage. UVA also increases free radicals – unstable atoms that cause damage to healthy cells – resulting in further damage to collagen and skin cells. While there are a plethora of anti-ageing products claiming to turn back time, UVA sun damage is irreversible. As a result, preventing sun damage should be your first port of call when curating an anti-ageing skincare routine.
Finally, UVA is present all-year round and can penetrate through dark clouds and thick glass. This means that we are susceptible to sun damage more often than we realise and may not even be aware of it, as UVA does not result in an obvious sunburn. This is as UVA radiation doesn’t cause a burning sensation like UVB does.
SUN TAKES A TOLL ON THE APPEARANCE OF THE SKIN
There is a direct correlation between exposure to the sun and wrinkles. Skin expert advises us that “sun damage is cumulative...every day that you don’t protect your skin is another day of sun damage that will increase your risk of developing skin cancer and age your skin prematurely.” Introducing sun protection to your anti-ageing skincare regimen as early as possible is key.
In fact, up to 90% of premature skin ageing is a direct result of UV exposure. As the Australian sun is particularly harsh, Australian women also visibly age up to 20 years faster than women in the United States*.
SUNSCREEN DEFENDS AGAINST THE AGEING PROCESS
Considering the damaging nature of UVA and UVB light, sun protection should be your number one line of defence when it comes to anti-ageing. This includes avoiding the sun when you can, wearing protective clothing, staying in the shade and of course, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with very high UVA/UVB protection such as SPF50+.
“Broad-spectrum” refers to a sunscreen’s ability to protect from both UVA and UVB rays, which is important to help minimise the first signs of ageing such as pigmentation, age spots and wrinkles, as well as lowering your risk of skin cancer. The sun protection factor (SPF) of your chosen sunscreen also matters; sunscreens with a rating of SPF50+, such as the La Roche-Posay Anthelios range, offer very high protection for your skin.
No matter your age or the sun damage you may have already sustained, it is never too late to start using sunscreen in your anti-ageing skincare routine.
SUNSCREEN CAN BE ADDED TO YOUR EVERYDAY SKIN CARE ROUTINE
To truly act as an effective anti-ageing product, sunscreen should be part of your everyday skincare routine. However, it needs to be properly applied to be effective. Experts suggest applying approximately one teaspoon of sunscreen to the face and neck, a teaspoon to each arm, one teaspoon for the front and back of the torso, and one teaspoon for each leg. Your face is not the only area that shows the signs of ageing, to remember that sunscreen should be applied anywhere your skin will receive sun exposure.
It’s also important to remember that sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or especially in the water.
As sunscreen forms a protective coating over the skin, it should be applied after all your other skincare products (but before any makeup you wish to wear). You should also aim to apply your sunscreen at least 15 to 20 minutes before exposure.
USE SUNSCREEN...EVEN WHEN YOU'RE INDOORS
UVA light is particularly damaging as it penetrates through glass and clouds, meaning that staying indoors or only heading outside on an overcast day does not necessarily protect you from sun damage.
Experts also note that many people who say they spend their day indoors actually forget to account for incidental sun exposure – such as going for short walks, coffee runs or other brief activities that may see them going outside. Even small amounts of sun exposure add up, which is why it’s best to develop a routine that incorporates sunscreen each and every day.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT ANTI-AGEING SUNSCREEN FOR YOUR SKIN
Australians should ensure their sun protection is approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration. A ‘primary sunscreen’ is a product used to protect the skin from UV radiation, and are separate to secondary sunscreens, which is a term that encompasses makeup and other cosmetics that contain some SPF. For adequate sun protection, a primary sunscreen should be used daily.
It’s also important to ensure that your chosen sunscreen has sufficient SPF, ideally very high such as SPF50+. It should also be labelled broad spectrum, which means it is proven to adequately protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Choose a sunscreen that has a lightweight, cosmetically pleasing formula to ensure you enjoy using it daily. If your sunscreen is unpleasant to use, it will be much harder to develop this essential daily habit. If your skin is particularly sensitive, make sure to use a sunscreen that is designed for sensitive skin and free from fragrance or with hypoallergenic fragrance. The Anthelios Invisible Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+ has a non-greasy, lightweight formula that suits even the most sensitive skin, while the Anthelios Tinted Fluid Facial Sunscreen SPF 50+ adds some pigment for a sheer, natural finish.
Help keep premature signs of ageing at bay with an effective face and neck sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection, and remember to ensure your body is also protected. Discover the complete La Roche-Posay Anthelios range of sun protection.
* Australasian Journal of Dermatology (2017): Comparison of self-reported signs of facial ageing among Caucasian women in Australia versus those in the USA, the UK and Canada.
ALWAYS READ THE LABEL. FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FOR USE.
Apply 20 minutes before sun exposure. Sunscreen is only one part of sun protection so wear protective clothing and seek shade. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, towelling and perspiring in accordance with directions.