Reinvention shouldn’t be limited to personal growth. Skin health can also benefit from the extra attention. As we already know, over time, our skin slowly accumulates the damaging effects of the sun, pollution, and smoking—external factors that may lead to congested skin, visible signs of aging, and, in more severe cases, skin cancer. Although our skin has less-than-optimal abilities to repair itself once we reach these stages, there are things one can do to turn back time.
What to Look for
Although the inside of most people’s forearms tend to stay hidden from the sun, this specific body part highlights their true skin tone. Newly tan skin, on the other hand, is a sign of sun damage. We now know that tanning is synonymous with DNA damage. When we tan, the sun’s UV rays penetrate the skin’s epidermis and dermis, wreaking havoc on the cells found in both layers.
Skin damage can show up in several ways—wrinkles, fine lines, and textural changes are classically related to sun exposure. Brown spots, white spots, broken blood vessels, and sagging are also a result of staying too close to the sun.
Some people assume sun exposure comes from sun-bathing, using a tanning bed, or going to the beach. But the truth is: Sun exposure occurs every time we go outside, or are near a window, for that matter. That’s why it’s absolutely vital to apply broad-spectrum SPF daily. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends using a daily sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 on all exposed areas. But it’s not a one-and-done deal. Sunscreen should always be reapplied throughout the day, at least every 40 to 60 minutes when outside. If you tend to forget to do so, stock up on sunscreen with an SPF of 50 to keep your bases covered. As for the ingredients to look for in sunscreen, consider zinc and titanium. The FDA has labeled both as GRASE (Generally Regarded as Safe and Effective), cementing these skin-protecting ingredients as suncare must-haves.
Prefer an all-in-one approach?
That’s where SPF-infused moisturizer comes in—but there’s a catch. While it may fare well indoors, it’s important to note that this type of sun protection isn’t viable if swimming or exercising is on the agenda. Opt for a water-resistant sunscreen—there’s no such thing as “wa- ter-proof”—if that’s the case.
Streamline Your Skincare
Editing your beauty arsenal may seem intimidating, but it’s absolutely imperative. Comb through your skincare products and keep what sparks the most joy for your skin, as it pertains to its health. A must-keep? Antioxidant-packed products. Read: daytime serums and moisturizers that boast antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E, green tea, white tea, rosemary, echinacea, and pomegranate. Not only can they protect the skin from harmful UV rays, but also from pollution, inflammation, and dehydration. Similarly, using retinoids nightly can help increase cell turnover and boost collagen production, as well as improve the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and brown spots.
If you’re looking for additional reinforcements to keep your skin rejuvenated and healthy, consider in-office procedures such as chemical peels to further increase cell turnover and combat dull or blemished skin.
Microneedling, which can help stimulate collagen production, is also a mainstay in many skincare regimens. This treatment can also help diminish the appearance of under-eye circles. Keep in mind that those with more prominent sun damage may need stronger treatments (think: lasers) to dramatically and effectively turn back time.
Whether you have visible or invisible sun damage, everyone must commit to giving their skin some much-needed TLC—no matter your age, skin tone, or level of daily sun exposure. Once you successfully implement a dermatologist-approved routine that includes broad-spectrum sunscreen, antioxidants, and the occasional treatment, you’ll be good to glow.