Just 10 percent of high school students today report regularly wearing sunscreen, according to the CDC.
Sun exposure increases your chances of developing skin cancer. But even if you don’t develop this dangerous condition, your skin will still suffer.
Exposure to UV rays can leave your skin dull, dry, wrinkled, and otherwise damaged. Whether you’re already noticing the effects of skin damage or want to protect your skin before it starts, keep reading to learn everything you need to know about UV damage to your skin.
How Does Sun Exposure Affect Your Skin?
Unless you were prone to sunburns, or even if you weren’t, odds are that you didn’t give much thought to sunscreen in your teens and early 20s. Even if you did apply it, you likely didn’t do so each time you went outside. For many people, sunscreen is something to be applied when you’ll be spending hours outside. Unfortunately, any time you’re outside, even for short periods, your sun is exposed to UV rays. This includes overcast days as well.
Over time, sun exposure can have a number of effects on your skin. In the hours after sun exposure, it causes painful sunburns. Long-term, it can cause your skin to lose its elasticity. This contributes to wrinkles and a change in your skin’s texture. UV exposure also dries your skin and can cause dark spots and discoloration.
Can You Treat Sun Damage?
The longer you’ve exposed your skin to the sun without protecting it, the harder it is to reverse the damage. However, there is hope. The right skincare routine can help you combat many of the effects of UV damage, including wrinkles, discoloration, and dryness.
Keeping your skin hydrated is key to combating both dryness and wrinkles, as it helps your skin to maintain its elasticity. For discoloration and dark spots, you’ll want to opt for a skincare regimen designed for uneven skin tone treatment, with ingredients like Vitamin C and retinol, which help even your skin tone and brighten your skin for a radiant look.
How to Prevent Future Sun Damage
Treating the signs of sun damage is important if you want to even your skin tone and keep your skin hydrated and wrinkle-free. But these treatments will only work if you also protect your skin against additional damage.
Any time that you’ll be going outdoors, or even spending time near windows without UV protection, you need to wear sunscreen. The easiest way to remember to apply is to add sunscreen to your morning skincare routine. This will ensure that you never skip this key step when you’re in a hurry or when it looks overcasts that day.
Opt for a sunscreen with a minimum of 30 SPF. Your sunscreen of choice should also be “broad spectrum,” which means that it protects against both UVA and UVB rays, both of which cause damage to your skin and can cause skin cancer.
Fixing and Preventing Dull, Sun-Damaged Skin
You may not be able to travel back in time to reverse the sun damage your skin has suffered. But you can treat that damage, and prevent it from happening again in the future. Start with a skincare regimen designed to treat dull, discolored skin. Then, add a daily sunscreen to keep your skin safe from UV rays around the clock.
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.