What prevents aging and ages you at the same time?
Why the sun is your best friend and worst enemy
Aging. It happens to everyone no matter your complexion, ethnicity, or socioeconomic status. For some people, aging is subtle and graceful. While for others, old age seems to hit them like a ton of bricks very early on in their lives! Whichever side of the fence you are on, remember to water the grass of the inevitable. At the top of the year, we discussed the ideal skincare routines in your 20s, 30s, and 40s. I am a 30something, and with this year coming to a close, I can confirm that I grew more gray hair than ever! Although I did not feel as stressed throughout this pandemic, my body determined that this was a lie. I digress.
A big reason that some of us obsess about skincare is that we want to look good. For many people, to look their best means to appear youthful. You know - plump, supple, smooth, and clear, glowing skin. That means that a fine line or wrinkle can play on the psyche of someone who wants to look forever young. If this is you, I empathize with you. After all, I want to look 28 for as long as possible. Side note: it is true, 28 is the most pivotal year of a woman’s life.
Apart from genetics, there are many reasons why some people appear to age quicker than others.
Damaging UV rays of the sun is one of them. Ah yes, did you think that I would write a whole post about aging skincare without mentioning the sun once? Apart from increasing our risk of skin cancer, the sun will age your skin as quickly as stress! Here are two damaging effects of the sun on your skin:
- It breaks down collagen, an abundant protein found throughout your body. Collagen is a component of the connective tissue in your skin. Once this protein breaks down, it causes abnormalities in elastin. Like collagen, elastin is an abundant protein found in your body's connective tissues. It helps them to maintain their shapes after stretching and contractions. Over time, compromised collagen and elastin leads to thinner, more wrinkled skin.
- Uneven pigmented patches develop. The outermost layer of your skin has cells that contain the pigment melanin. This pigment functions to protect the skin from the sun’s UV rays. That explains why you tan and burn if you spend too much time in the sun. Hence, the uneven pigmented patches.
The sun is not all bad, though. It contains vitamin D which offers anti-aging skincare benefits. Before we go deeper, note that sun exposure is not the only thing that causes premature aging. Further, too much of anything can be unhealthy. That said, let’s unpack vitamin D.
3 Key Benefits of Vitamin D
- It calms inflammation
- Protects your skin against the sun’s UV rays
- Improves cell turnover
Now, you may feel like you need to soak in that natural vitamin D. Before you do that, let’s look at its side effects:
Too much sun-provided vitamin D leads to accelerated skin aging. That’s it - that is the negative side effect. The same nutrient that protects your skin and prevents aging is also your skin's enemy. That is if you do not manage its intake.
So what is the solution to aging skincare?
Remember, aging is inevitable. The sooner you embrace that, the less ugly you will feel about the process. As you age, care less about appearing youthful and more about good health all-around. Yes, I am not taking my advice. Mind your business. What you do on the outside can affect what is on the inside. And what is on the inside will show what is on the outside. So, here are:
3 Anti-Aging Skincare Tips That You Forgot
1. Avoid direct sunlight often
Sunbathing is fun, but the older you get, the more dramatic its effects can be for your health. If you do not want sagging skin with sunspots, then skip extended sun exposure. Or at least find the nearest shade.
2. Wear sunscreen even at night
From young to old, we live in front of screens. There is a common misconception that sunscreen is useful only during natural daylight. Yet, we should wear it at night as we sit in front of a television, tablet, laptop, or phone screen. The light emitted from these devices is as damaging as sunlight. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the corners of your eyeballs. Are they even white anymore? It is called eye strain, hun. Look it up and manage your screen time.
3. Keep your skin hydrated
Nothing dries out your skin like the hot California sun! My goodness, after two years of living in LA, my skin has still not adjusted to this catastrophic dry heat. One of the reasons that our skin loses collagen and elastin is due to the lack of hydration. Seek moisturizers that contain hyaluronic acid and other alpha-hydroxy-acids. These acids promote cell turnover that is critical for anti-aging skincare.
- Draw out impurities
- Resurface your skin
- Restore smooth, even texture to your skin
- Calm redness and inflammation
- Lock in plumping hydration
- Boost healthy cell turnover
Remember, the sun is your friend but like, that friend that you talk to every quarter or so! We promise you that the relationship will always pick up where it left off.