The visible signs of ageing caused by sun damage could show as early as your twenties, depending on how much of a sun bunny you were in your younger years and especially if you were sporty. However, it's between 35 and 49 that the real damage rises to the surface.
Numerous studies show that repeated unprotected exposure to ultraviolet and infrared radiation from the sun, even for short periods of time, breaks down collagen and damages skin cell DNA.
UVA rays penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin, breaking down the support structures and resulting in a loss of volume and elasticity. UVB rays are responsible for the topical burning of the skin and triggering the production of pigment which causes tanning, freckles, sunspots and pigmentation and which may lead to skin cancer.
For this reason, it is absolutely crucial to understand that the more diligent you are about protecting your skin from a young age, the better your chances are of looking younger for longer.
Top sun care tips:
- Choose a good quality sunscreen that has broad-spectrum (both UVA and UVB) sun protection.
- Apply your SPF every day, even in winter.
- Avoid the sun between 11am and 3pm in summer.
- Use UV protective clothing a hat, sunglasses and find the shade.
- Reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, especially after swimming.
- Make sure your kids, especially those under the age of 2, are not exposed to too much sunshine. Make sure they are well protected with UV swimsuits, hats and sunglasses, as well as sunscreen specially formulated for their delicate skins.
- You need 10 minutes of sun exposure on bare skin, twice a week, to produce the vitamin D your body needs. To avoid further damaging your skin, we recommend exposing your thighs rather than your face and arms, which get regular exposure.
- For those who don't necessarily enjoy applying traditional SPF's, remember you have the option of liquids (sprays), gels, powders, lotions and creams, as well as capsules taken orally.
- Protect your skin with an "internal SPF". There are brands (such as Heliocare and Lamelle) that make products that act as an "internal SPF" in the form of capsules which can be taken for additional skin protection.
- If you are prone to pigmentation, be particularly diligent about avoiding sun exposure and excessive heat. Sometimes just getting really hot for too long can trigger pigmentation – so avoid being outside when temperatures are at their highest.