For many, sun-kissed skin is the epitome of youthful healthiness. Rather than acting as a fountain of youth, however, excessive exposure to the sun ages the skin like nothing else. This statement is backed up by huge amounts of research. In fact, a recent study that was published in the journal Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology reports that UV rays from the sun account for around 80 percent of skin aging. What’s more is that the damaging effects of UV rays on the skin intensify with age. When it comes to effective face skin care, then, avoiding UV rays is one of the best things that you can do.
About the Study
The study, which was performed by L’Oreal Research and Innovation Center, Paris, included input from 298 women between the ages of 30 and 78. Half of them were confirmed “sun worshipers” who routinely laid out in the sun; the other half were studious about avoiding sun exposure. Experts examined close-up photographs of the women’s faces on a screen, and a panel of volunteers were shown photos of the women and asked to estimate how old they appeared to be.
The results were incredible. There appears to be a significant difference in the number of wrinkles and in the texture of the skin for sun worshipers who are over the age of 50. Researchers found that women who had about 80-percent sun damage to their skin looked right around their age. Women with 82-percent sun damage to their skin looked three years older than their actual ages, on average. Women with 78-percent sun damage to their skin looked about three years younger than their ages. With these results in mind, it’s easy to see why it pays to avoid exposure to the sun as much as possible.
Why is Sun Exposure Bad for the Skin?
UV rays from the sun can cause harmful free radicals to inflict serious damage on skin cells. What’s worse is that at the same time, the rays may deplete antioxidant levels in the skin. Antioxidants help to fight the negative effects of free radicals, so a vicious cycle ensues. Even if you don’t go tanning, simply being out in the sun without any real protection can inflict major damage on your skin, causing it to visibly age a lot more quickly. Long-term exposure to UV rays also reduces skin elasticity, causes changes in pigmentation and degrades skin texture.
What Can You Do?
The simplest way to keep your skin looking young is by avoiding exposure to the sun. Of course, you can’t stay indoors 24/7. Before heading out, liberally apply sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher, and reapply it regularly if you will be out in the sun for extended periods of time. Invest in high-quality anti-aging products, and investigate today’s best serums to further protect your skin. Although sun exposure isn’t the only factor that ages the skin, it is by far the most significant one. By shielding your skin from UV rays, you will do a lot to keep your skin – and you – looking young and healthy.