Some of the most common concerns on the skin include fine lines, wrinkles, uneven color, and broken capillaries. The major cause of these concerns is sun damage which occurs during childhood. Therefore, it is important to begin protecting the skin at a young age.
The sun damages the skin in multiple rays. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun damage the cells by creating free radicals. These result in uneven color, dark spots, and age spots. They also lead to the formation of broken capillaries. In addition, UV rays damage collagen, the protein in the skin that is responsible for maintaining the tight and firm appearance. Over time the skin can become thick or thin, uneven in color and texture, and appear damaged. Therefore, it is important to protect the skin from the sun.
How to protect your skin from the sun
The most important thing a person can do to protect his/her skin from the sun is apply sunscreen every day. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 every day throughout the year, including the winter months. While it may be cold during the winter, there is still sun exposure and protection is important at all times. This also includes days in which it is overcast because UV rays can penetrate the clouds. It is also important to use a sunscreen that has broad spectrum protection, meaning that it protects against both UV rays that cause aging and UV rays that cause burning. Physical sunscreens such as those containing zinc and titanium are outstanding in this respect. If outdoors for prolonged periods, re-apply the sunscreen every two hours. This includes when driving because the UV rays penetrate through the windows and windshields. Protective clothing can also be worn to protect the skin and it is important to avoid sun exposure during the mid-day when the rays are the strongest.
Protecting Children’s Skin
Interestingly, the majority of a person’s sun exposure occurs during the first two decades of life. This is because children often play outdoors when in school or at camps. Therefore, it is critical to protect our children by applying sunscreen. Sunscreen should be applied as early as six months of age. Physical sunscreens such as zinc and titanium work best because they have minimal risk for allergic reactions. While we have tools such as Botox, Voluma, and fractional CO2 laser resurfacing to address many concerns, it is much easier to prevent them in the first place by protecting the skin at an early age.