We all love to be outside enjoying the sunshine, but when it comes to maintaining our skin’s natural appearance without the risk of premature ageing, sun exposure is the skin’s number one enemy¹.
The sun’s UV rays can cause an acceleration of the ageing process, leading to premature ageing on the face, neck and décolletage². This often appears in the form of dryness, hyperpigmentation (dark patches on the skin), fine lines, wrinkles and thinning of the skin³.
According to the Skin Health Institute, long-term sun exposure accounts for about 90 per cent of visible signs of ageing in Australians⁴. UV radiation can result in both molecular and cellular damage, which can then lead to skin cancer and photo ageing⁵ such as wrinkles, dark spots and loss of elasticity. In fact, between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of UVA radiation penetrates into the deeper layers of the skin, which can result in prolonged dermal structure deterioration⁶.
So how can we help protect our skin against the sun’s harmful UV rays and help prevent premature ageing caused by the sun? The most important preventative measure we can take is sun protection, including the use of sunscreen.
One Australian study found that regular use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen can protect us against photo ageing. Researchers used microtopography to examine skin changes in more than 900 people and found that the group who applied sunscreen daily ‘showed no detectable increase’ in skin ageing after 4.5 years⁷.
To help protect against premature ageing caused by the sun, apply a good quality SPF50+ sunscreen. Sunscreen should be used at all times of the year, but especially during the warmer months and peak UV hours (10am-4pm)⁵.
Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. Avoid prolonged sun exposure and wear protective clothing, hats and eyewear to further reduce risk. Frequent re-application is required.