Achieving a healthy body means taking care of all your body as a whole. Although eating right means getting enough nutrition, maintaining your overall wellness includes other aspects such as keeping an active lifestyle, getting enough sleep, and taking care of other body parts like your skin. Often, people overlook the largest organ of our body and only pay attention to it unless there are unusual skin conditions that require medical attention. But that shouldn’t be the case because our skin is as big of a deal as our internal organs. It is our body’s primary barrier from the outside world, which is essential in keeping us in a regulated system.
Skin & Ageing
Taking care of our skin plays a significant part in ageing. And because it is exposed to many factors as we mature, the skin is prone to premature ageing, which significantly affects our biological age. While caring for your skin won’t stop the clock and the number of your chronological age, you can do something to slow down the ageing process and have healthy, youthful-looking skin. One great example of healthy skin is people who look younger than their age. These people usually look glowing, with smooth and supple skin appearance. You will be surprised how old their body is when they take a biological age test. This is because, as an integral part of our body, healthy skin is one great indicator of your health status.
Skincare nowadays is trending all over social media. While there are opposing opinions about what you should include in your routine and what comes first in the order of applying the products, there is one essential part of skincare that experts say you should not skip – sunscreen.
Before all the hype emerged across the web, sunscreen had long existed on the market shelves. You will see an array of selections, from the most expensive ones to affordable options, from high-end to drugstore brands with varying SPFs. But with the wide selection available, you might wonder which one to choose and what’s the best for your skin. Read on and discover all about sunscreens and how they can benefit our skin.
What is sunscreen?
Sunscreens are products that contain active ingredients to protect our skin by blocking the harmful UV radiation of the sun. They come in lotions, gels, creams, sprays, sticks, and other formulations.
According to dermatologists, the recommended SPF in sunscreens should be at least SPF 30. It is crucial to apply enough of the product to your skin 30 minutes before sun exposure or before going out in cloudy weather. Yes, even when it’s gloomy outside, you must wear sunscreen. This is because even when the sun is not visible, up to 80% of its UV rays still penetrate the earth.
Contrary to the long-time practice of only applying sunscreen on the face, the Skin Cancer Foundation recommends applying this product to the whole body using an ounce or one shot glass-full each application to ensure enough protection. While reapplication is unnecessary for those not exposed to the sun or staying indoors, you should reapply it every two hours in case you are constantly outdoors.
To ensure that you are using a good sunscreen, look for the following:
- It should be broad-spectrum to protect your skin from UVA and UVB rays.
- It should contain SPF30 or higher so you can block most of the sun’s UV rays up to 99%.
- It should be water-resistant so that you can protect your skin even when you’re swimming or sweating due to intense physical activity. Water-resistant sunscreens can provide protection for up to 40 minutes.
Reasons to Use Sunscreen
Growing up, we are taught that sunlight is good for us. Hello, Vitamin D! While this is true, only a little sunlight is healthy for our skin. Too much exposure can lead to many negative effects on our integumentary system; some are challenging to fight. So the ultimate question is, why do we need to use sunscreen? Below are the reasons why sunscreen is beneficial to all of us.
It fights off premature skin ageing
Using sunscreen, you can avoid premature skin ageing signs such as fine lines, wrinkles, sun spots, dry skin, and pigmentation. This is beneficial to have healthy skin and a radiant and younger-looking appearance.
It lowers your risk of developing skin cancer
Because the main goal of sunscreen is to shield our skin from the damaging effects of UV rays that damage the DNA in our skin cells, regular and consistent use of sunscreen has shown to reduce the risk of cancers such as melanoma and nonmelanoma skin cancers, according to a 2020 study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
It helps reduce inflammation
Prolonged exposure to the harmful UVs from the sun causes skin changes, including inflammation. By using sunscreen, you are saving your skin from skin cell damage and increased formation of prostaglandins that are associated with redness and inflammation.
It prevents skin discolouration
Skin discolouration is due to increased melanin production caused by UV rays exposure. Applying sunscreen prevents melanin overproduction and acts as a shield to prevent spots from forming on your skin.
It can help reverse photodamage
Based on a 2016 study published by the Dermatologic Surgery journal on the effects of sunscreen on existing photodamage, long-term use of this product can improve the skin texture, clarity, and existing pigmentation, aside from the protection it gives against additional sun damage.
Other Ways to Prevent Premature Skin Ageing
Eat a well-balanced diet
Having a balanced diet is a proven way to keep your body healthy. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help prevent premature skin ageing. In addition, a high-fat and high-sugar diet can increase oxidative stress and inflammatory damage to the skin.
Avoid too much sun exposure
Exposure to the sun exposes your skin to UV rays which break down collagen. This results in wrinkles, thinner skin, and uneven skin pigment.
Smoking isn’t just affecting your lungs but also your skin. The nicotine content of cigarettes decreases the oxygen supply in your skin cells, leading to premature wrinkles, uneven skin complexion, and many other skin issues.
Practise an active lifestyle
Exercising not only benefits your endurance and strength. It also improves blood circulation, which affects your skin positively, making it appear more youthful.
Stop using harsh skin care products
Although most products contain chemicals, one way to determine if a product is harsh is when it stings or burns when you apply them to your skin.
Reduce your alcohol consumption
Alcoholic beverages are known to dehydrate the skin, which aids the ageing process.
Living healthy should be inclusive, and no part of our health should be overlooked to ensure that we are in top shape. Our skin is just as crucial as the rest of our body. Thus we must ensure the optimal health of our largest organ, similar to how we take care of our internal system. While choosing products for our skin can be confusing, you can always seek recommendations from health professionals for proper guidance.
Remember, keeping our skin in the best condition is not just about appearance; it also serves as our daily protection against many external factors, so we should take care of it for the rest of our lives.
She works as an editor at Research Snipers.