Are you as careful to protect your skin from sun damage as you should be? Do you wear sunscreen every time you go outside for prolonged periods? Or do you think you’re safe for some other reason?
Most people are aware of the dangers of skin cancer resulting from overexposure to the sun. While people who rarely burn are less likely to contract skin cancer than people who burn easily, everyone is at risk. Even with no family history. And our collective knowledge about skin cancer risks is constantly changing. For example, dermatologists used to condone minimal use of high-pressure tanning beds (which use UVA rays almost exclusively, with very little of the UVB rays) for people who tan easily and rarely burn. The tan from these beds was thought to protect your skin from natural sunlight. Now dermatologists are finding that UVA rays cause deeper tissue forms of skin cancer, which are more difficult to detect and treat.
Even if you never contract skin cancer, overexposure to sunlight also accounts for a surprising number of the signs of aging we think of as normal. Tanning produces deep skin wrinkles, makes the skin texture leathery, and can cause discoloration such as “age spots”. Avoiding sun and tanning bed exposure will help keep your skin tone even, your wrinkles fine and your skin texture soft.
Broad-spectrum sunscreens provide excellent protection from natural sunlight exposure. Even if you’re not going to be out in the sun for long, it’s a good idea to put some on exposed skin while dressing in the morning, particularly in the summer time. If you’re concerned about potentially dangerous chemicals that have been used in sunscreen, such as PABA, you should be aware there are sunscreen products available now that don’t include harmful chemicals. In fact, many are comprised mainly of natural ingredients, including moisturizers, which are the basis of any good anti-aging routine. If you already have skin damage resulting from sun exposure, there are a number of products available to even skin tone and soften deep wrinkles.