We all love the sun. Believe me, I just got back from Mexico and was no stranger to a bit of sun on the beach. But I hate to remind you all…the sun is a major cause of aging. Sure there are others, like smoking, sleep deprivation, starving yourself, poor skin regine and stress, but nothing quite like the sun.
Regularly I see patients with those brown mottled liver spots (nothing to do with the liver btw) all over their face, hands, arms and chest. Oh, my patients will blame it on their genetics or swear up and down they use sunscreen. Some sweetly call them freckles. Well, i’m here to tell you, they may be called freckles when you are a cheeky toddler but they are plain “sun damage” now.
Everyone seems to love getting a tan. And I hear it all. At 30 or 40, I get the comments like “I want to live now…I don’t care when i’m older” or famously “what do you know, you were born with a tan”. Well, what I do know is that by 50 people universally regret the tan. When one starts battling aging, then one really regrets those youthful days in the sun.
For those scientifically inclined, let me explain. It’s not a sun tan….its sun damage! The combined UVA and UVB rays reach deep into our skin and not only burn (UVB) but also change our DNA (UVA). Free radicals are activated which are mainly to blame for skin aging and ofcourse skin cancer.
The good news (there must be some, you think, after that depressing sentence! )…we’ll, nowadays such good and easy to use sunscreens exist and they can almost completely protect against sun damage. All brands offer good sun protection. The key is to USE THEM. Yes, unfortunately just keeping the sunscreen on the shelf dosent work! I won’t bore you with how the SPF ratings work, but suffice it to say a sunscreen with a SPF of 30 will absorb some 96% of the sun’s rays.
I know you think you don’t need to hear this becaise ofcourse you ALWAYS wear sunscreen (I know you dont…) but the thing is you have to wear it all the time, by which I mean in the winter, in the office, when you are out shopping or going for lunch. UVA rays go through glass so it doesn’t matter if you are inside or outside.
So what exactly will happen if you decide to ignore all my well meaning advice….well, after a few years (of maybe some unaware souls actually complementing you on your sun damage) you will look in the mirror and see a leathery complexion, brown patches and spots, lots of lines on the face and the dreaded crosshatch lines on the cheeks (which even botox and fillers can’t help). Now if that lovely picture hasn’t got you running for your sunscreen…I could talk about skin cancer….i think you get the point.
Having just come back from Mexico, I hate to rain on your parade, but a little care now can give you many many years of happiness in the future (and save you lots of money!)
Sent from my BlackBerry 10 smartphone on the Rogers network.