I remember when I was 18 and a fresh face attending college in a new city on my own, I was instantly more ‘mature’. My mother came to visit me during the holiday break and one of the first things she pointed out were my “crow’s feet” around my eyes. Well that’s not what I meant by more mature. She told me it could be for a number of reasons why I had suddenly developed smile and fine lines on my face (“premature aging”). Later that day while we were shopping for our big dinner, I snuck off to the beauty aisle and tossed a sunscreen into the cart for good measure. It’s safe to say–as with most of my mom’s advice–she had scared me straight. I want to keep my radiant, young skin for as long as I can.
According to Dr. Wendy Williams for HuffPo, “you will regret not having worn sunscreen when you look at your skin compared to friends and family who have worn daily sunscreen 20 years from now.” Sounds a bit narcissistic, but hey, we are all human… Vanity and ego rule our urge to change things. There are other notable points that remind us why sunscreen is necessary for our skin. 69% of people do not wear a sunscreen daily, says wellcommons.
Under a microscope, sunburned skin shows weakened and damaged blood vessels. I have a blood vessel disease, so sunscreen is absolutely a proactive, necessary approach. We also always hear about people who got diagnosed with having skin cancer, eye cataracts, a suppressed immune system, and duly noted, premature aging.
What sunscreen is better for you?
First thing, check the SPF number. It stands for sun protection factor. The way the sunscreen formula works is that it actually absorbs ultraviolet rays. This is called “UVA rays” on the bottle. Personally, I like SPF50 because I heard a few years ago that anything lower is less concentrated and therefore, less effective. I use a face sunscreen with SPF70 but that turned out to be too harsh, so just find what works for you. Most drugstores offer SPF30 as a good medium for those with sensitive skin.
I put sunscreen on about 30 minutes before going outside. In media, you usually see someone applying it outside while they are already into their activity (swimming, jogging). Realistically, it is important to give the sunscreen time to penetrate your layer of skin it needs to protect.
Don’t forget, though
You still need sun in your life. You need at least 500 IU (15 mcg) of vitamin D per day. Making time to go outside while staying active is a realistic way of getting your dose. There are also vitamin D rich foods that should be considered as part of your daily food intake–fish, milk, dairy, liver, and eggs. For vegans, a multivitamin with vitamin D2 is supplemental.
Which sunscreen do you use? Put me on.