People often ask what anti-aging product will give them the best results. The answer? Sunscreen! You can spend hundreds of dollars on fancy moisturizers but, if you are not protecting your skin from UVA and UVB rays, your risk of premature aging and of developing pre-cancerous cells increases.
Sunscreen is not clearly understood. First, many people question why they need sunscreen in the winter when exposure to the sun is limited. The answer relates to the difference between UVA rays and UVB rays.
UVA rays are always present in full force, no matter what the season. They are so strong they can penetrate clothing and sunglasses and burn the skin on a cloudy day. The damage isn’t necessarily evident immediately but it’s there and can lead to premature aging, sun spots, deep wrinkles and “leathery” skin.
UVB rays burn the skin and increase your chance of developing skin cancer. Unlike UVA rays, they are stronger in the summer months and at high times such as the mid afternoon.
There is also much confusion regarding the SPF spectrum and what is necessary for sufficient protection. It is important to buy an SPF that has both UVA and UVB protection.
Generously apply a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, and reapply it frequently. Apply sunscreen at least 30 minutes before direct UVA/UVB exposure. A second application should be applied half an hour to an hour after the first application because most people do not initially apply the appropriate amount. Always reapply sunscreen after swimming and sweating.
Remember, the number on the bottle of sunscreen does not represent the “strength” but the length of time you’re protected. For example, SPF 30 protects the skin 30 times more than using no sunscreen.