Sun Protection, Skin Ageing & the Horse Riding Woman
As a child I spent way too much time in the sun.
Who am I kidding, I still spend waaayyy too much time in the sun. But I don't have an indoor and any time spent with my horses means I'm in the sun.
I've had melanoma, BCCs and SCCs and I've had more bits burnt and cut and even grafted than I care to remember, and for the past few weeks I've been awaiting the results of even more biopsies.
I figure it's time I started taking the best care I can of my skin because in truth, it's never been my top priority. So I reached out to Anna Marie Greco from Skin Clinica.
She's shared her tips and suggestions not just on sun protection but skin ageing as well. (Thank you Anna Marie, I'll take all the help I can get!).
Now I'm sharing it with you. Have a read. It's full of lots of useful info.
After you've had a read, I'd love you to come back and share your favourite suncreen with me. One that doesn't itch or end up running into my eyes!
Sun Damage is Cumulative.
Even short periods of sun exposure every day add up over a lifetime. What you do today can show up in your skin decades from now.
UV radiation causes damage to skin cells and that can lead to skin cancers. It’s also responsible for 80% or more of extrinsic skin ageing. This shows up as more wrinkles, more sagging, more hyperpigmentation, more uneven tone, more rough areas and more dryness. Collagen and elastin are in the structural layer of the skin and they provide it with its youthful plumpness and bounce. Unfortunately, UV radiation breaks down these important proteins and this accelerates the ageing of the skin.
Tips to reduce premature skin ageing
Here are some skin tips to protect your skin from premature ageing and reduce the risk of skin cancers.
Check your skin regularly and have any suspicious moles or changes in your skin looked at by a doctor or dermatologist immediately.
Protect, protect, protect. It’s always better to prevent skin damage than to try to repair it later.
Cover up all exposed areas of skin by wearing full-length clothing and seek shade whenever you don’t need to be in the sun. Remember that sunscreen doesn’t provide 100% protection.
Use an antioxidant serum, such as Vitamin C, as part of your morning skin care routine. Cellular skin ageing is caused by the oxidation of proteins, the cross-linking of collagen and the peroxidation of lipids. The use of antioxidants has been shown to help prevent some of this damage. And, remarkably, there is science to support that they can improve sunscreen photo-protection against UV-induced free radicals.
Apply sunscreen. There are many sunscreens available these days – find those that you don’t mind applying rather than say you don’t like the feeling of them on your skin. Use a layering technique to give yourself the best protection possible, especially if you’re going to be outdoors for long periods. Sunscreens work by either absorbing, reflecting or scattering sunlight.
Apply a lightweight chemical sunscreen or, second-best, a moisturiser with sunscreen to all exposed areas. Allow enough time for these to absorb. Don’t overlook the décolletage, back of neck, ears and hands. Choose the safest possible chemical filters as some are controversial.
Also apply a broad-spectrum SPF50+ mineral sunscreen to all exposed areas. You’ll need one teaspoon to cover the face, neck and ears, and extra for the rest.
Follow with a foundation or mineral powder, on the face, if using.
Apply a dedicated eye and lip sunscreen. Don’t apply your regular sunscreen as it can be irritating and drying on these sensitive areas. They need protection too. Interestingly, the sun has been found to trigger cold sores in those who have the virus in their bodies, so include this extra step.
Reapply your sunscreens according to the manufacturer recommendations. Remember that water, sweating and wiping will affect the length of time they are effective.
Allow time for the sunscreens to work before going out in to the sun, usually 20-30 minutes.
Don’t rely on a moisturiser or foundation with sunscreen for your protection. These won’t provide adequate protection.
Check the expiry date of your sunscreens and throw out any that have reached it.
Don’t rely on a sunscreen that’s been stored in a hot environment, such as your car or outdoors.
At night, it’s important to care for your skin to help it recover and repair. Ensure a proper cleanse, maybe even a double cleanse, and follow with a serum and a moisturiser with the right anti-agers to keep your skin looking its best. Consider a skin care routine that includes an antioxidant serum in the morning and a hyaluronic acid and retinol or peptide complex at night. You’ll also want to gently exfoliate 2-3 times a week. Add in a lip mask for dry and chapped lips – it actually gets to stay on your lips long enough to work!
7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. A lack of sleep, or poor sleep, over the long term results in the skin ageing faster and not recovering as well from environmental stressors, such as UV exposure and pollutants. During sleep, blood flow in the skin increases, UV damage is repaired and collagen is produced, helping to reduce pigmentation and wrinkles.