Smart Ways to Reduce UV Damage to Your Skin

As you get older, your skin stops producing as much collagen. Collagen is what provides plumpness to your skin, and when that plumpness goes away, your skin sags. This creates wrinkles and fine lines, and you’ll start to notice a loss in the definition of your face and jaw.

Too much exposure to UV rays can damage collagen and reduce its production rate, so if you stay out in the sun a lot without protection, it’s probably speeding up the aging process. However, avoiding the sun isn’t really possible, and it’s not necessarily healthy either.

The important thing is to protect yourself when you do go out. Here are some methods that dermatologists use to keep their skin young and healthy.

Applying The Right Amount of Sunscreen
One of the biggest issues with sunscreen isn’t that it doesn’t work; it’s that people aren’t applying it in sufficient quantities or using one with a strong enough SPF. Using a sunscreen with an SPF of 60 as an example, if someone applies a thin layer, they may only be getting half of the protection it offers, resulting in a sunscreen that’s really only SPF 30.

When you factor in sweat and the fact that most sunscreens wear off over time, in a few hours, your sunscreen could be down to SPF 15 or lower. As a result, many dermatologists pick a sunscreen that’s about double the one that they really need. There are options that go up to an SPF of 110, so you should be able to find one that works for you even if you have sensitive skin that’s prone to burning.

Avoid Using Lip Balm During the Day
Back in the 60s and 70s, people used to lay out while holding a reflective aluminum screen to double the sun’s rays and hopefully speed up the tanning process. Now, we know that’s a terrible idea, but putting on lip gloss during the day may result in a similar effect.

Anything shiny, such as lip gloss, can magnify the sun’s rays. People can even get sunburned on their lips just from wearing lip gloss, and some individuals even eventually develop skin cancer on their mouth. Instead of using gloss, consider a lip balm that has an SPF in it to protect and hydrate your lips during the day.

Take in Antioxidants
One of the things that sun exposure brings with it is free radicals that damage your skin. You can fight off free radicals by eating and drinking things that have antioxidants in them. Coffee is an excellent choice since many people start the day with a cup anyway. A study, published in Cancer Research, found that people who drank three or more cups of caffeinated coffee a day were less likely to develop basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.

If you can’t handle that much coffee or are sensitive to caffeine, there are a number of other options for getting antioxidants into your system. Dark chocolate, pecans and a variety of berries, just to name a few, all contain very high levels of antioxidants.

Don’t Forget Sun Exposure in Your Car
Many people assume that once they’re in their car, they’re getting very little if any exposure to UV rays. However, although newer cars have windows with UV filters, they don’t come close to offering complete protection from the sun. Damage can be severe enough that the difference between the left and right side of someone’s face is visible. Your left side is exposed to far more light through the car door window, and the glass can even magnify the effect.

The easiest way to resolve this problem is to get your windows tinted. It’s not terribly expensive in most cases, it helps keep your car cool during the summer, and it can save you a lot of medical problems later on as well as premature aging. Different states have different limits for how dark your windows can be, but you should focus on finding a tint that has a higher level of UVA protection rather than one that simply makes your car windows darker.

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