The Truth About Sunscreen and Aging

Yes, there’s proof. It turns out that sunscreen does more than just protect you from cancer and those ridiculous sunburns, it offers a lot more. Whether you’re planning on heading to the beach, or you know you’ll be exposed outside long enough, your sunscreen will save you--Literally. Here’s what you need to know:

Photoaging

Aside from UV-ray protection, sunscreen is used to save you from the unfortunate aging process. This means wrinkling, spotting and the loss of elasticity, which can all be caused by too much fun in the sun.

Research has found that sunscreen does indeed have anti-aging properties that can really make a difference now, and most importantly, in the long run. While sunscreens have indeed improved, it is no alternative for limiting your time in the sun. It is important to consider this when deciding to tan the face and body, or spending excessive amounts of time in the sun on the weekends.

What Does SPF Really Mean?

Sunscreen

Truth be told, SPF does not indicate how much time you should be spending in the sun. For example, many believe that an SPF 30 means you can sit in the sun twice as long as an SPF 15. This is simply a misconception. What it really means is that an SPF 15 will filter out approximately 93 percent of UV-B rays while an SPF 30 will root for 97 percent filtration.

It is also important to note that no matter what number SPF you are using, sunscreens do not offer 100 percent protection from UVB rays and ultra-high SPFs are no different.

Using Broad-Spectrum

Overall, to prevent premature aging of the skin, you should use a sunscreen that offers a broad-spectrum. This essentially means that it blocks out both UVA and UVB rays, unlike a standard sunscreen with SPF.

It is recommended that you only purchase sunscreens with a 50 SPF that offers a broad-spectrum. Also, be aware of some of the ingredients in sunscreens. Ingredients that filter UVA rays include Benzophenones, while those that filter UVB rays include PABA and salicylates.

Chemicals in Sunscreens

Though most sunscreens are out there to protect you, some are there doing the exact opposite. Some sunscreens may be using chemicals that increase your risk of cancer and or may contain hormone disruptors that can affect your bodily systems.

For example, oxybenzone has been found as a common ingredient in over 600 sunscreens, and have been known to increase the risk of giving birth to low birthweight babies. Oxybenzone has also been accused of being linked to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension and more.

Before buying sunscreen, make sure that you scan the ingredients and minimize toxicity.

When it comes to preventing the signs of aging, sunscreen can be helpful, but it is not the only thing you can do. Reducing the amount of sun exposure and wearing sun-protective clothing is a great way to slow down the aging process and protect yourself against other sun damage, like cancer.

If you’re already trying to fight aging and need solutions, Elias Dermatology can help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Board Certified Dermatologists.

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