Be cool now so you can look hot later. Over 17 million cosmetic surgery procedures were performed in 2009. Chemical peels, laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, and face lifts are some of the costly procedures done to erase the aging. What is the number one cause of crow’s feet, saggy jowls, forehead wrinkles and just premature aging in general? Simple, preventable sun exposure!
“I wish I knew about the lasting effects of sun damage when I was younger,” is a familiar refrain heard these days as more and more men and women are checking out plastic surgery to correct the sun damage inflicted over years spent in the sun. The ravages of the sun occur over a long period of time so many people are just beginning to see what years in the sun without sun protection has cost them and will cost them in the future.
The harmful rays of the sun accelerate the aging process like nothing else. Reversal of the damage can really only be achieved through plastic surgery. If people stay out of the sun or at least protect their skin, trips to a plastic surgeon later on in life could be avoided. And, post surgery and dermatological procedures will last longer and not scare as easily by practicing reasonable sun safety.
So let’s talk sun safety…
When you think of sunscreen think “Last line of sun protection”. Sunscreen is much less UV protective than a physical block such as SPF fabric, a wide brim sun hat or being in the shade. It is however, an important daily protective measure to use when a physical barrier is not practical. In order to achieve the best sun protection from sunscreen it’s helpful to have a little background on UV radiation.
To begin with the sun radiates two types of ultraviolet rays that cause sun damage. The first, UVA, penetrates the skin the deepest. UVA’s intensity is constant throughout the day and throughout the year. The second, UVB, is called the sunburn ray. UVB rays target the top layer of the skin and its strength depends on the time of day (noon being the strongest) and the time of season (summer being the strongest). Another fact to keep is mind is that the SPF rating on a sunscreen tells how well the product blocks UVB rays, not the longer wavelength UVA. Unless the sunscreen contains UVA protectors, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, people may think they are well protected using a sunscreen with a high SPF. And, since UVA rays are slow in causing sunburn, damage may occur without you even knowing it.
More about UVA protection – There are three ingredients that will protect against UVA radiation: Zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and avobenzone. Avobenzone, which is included in many sunscreens, is the least effective of the three. It must be combined with other ingredients to yield results and degrades in sunlight. Zinc oxide provides the broadest sun protection reflecting both UVA and UVB rays. And, because it is not absorbed into the skin, it will not irritate or cause any adverse reactions. Sunscreens that containing higher zinc oxide concentrations, such as 20% zinc oxide, have been shown to be especially helpful to those with extreme sun sensitivity.
As we mentioned earlier, wearing a physical sun block such as sun protective clothing, a sun hat or being in the shade provides the most effective sun protection you can do. Since no sunscreen will completely block the sun’s rays, it is important to include physical sun protective measures in your daily routine. Shielding the face and neck is essential to keep your skin free from sun damage. Hats with a downward sloping brim of at least 4 inches are recommended for protecting the face. Hats with larger brims and legionnaire style hats also shade the neck as well as the face. Sun hoods and face drapes are some unique products developed to offer a physical UV barrier from the sun. And, don’t forget to wear sunglasses. Sunglasses provide a physical sun block to reduce squinting and protect the crow’s feet area especially if you wear glasses with a wide temple ear piece.
As time goes on, more and more people are discovering that the easiest and most cost effective way to maintain a youthful appearance is to make sun protection a part of their daily life. So slather on the sunscreen and don that wide brim hat. Pay for sun protection now, you won’t be paying for plastic surgery later.