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When you think of sunscreen, what do you think of? Sticky, greasy and uncomfortable, but a necessary evil? Do you think about skin cancer or sunburn prevention? Do you think about the beach, pool or vacation? If so, you’re like most of us. We often think about sunscreen for “special occasions” where we have extended exposure to the sun. But do you realize that every day, even if you work indoors, you are exposing your skin to harmful UV rays that can damage and age it? Although you may not have thought of sunscreen as a daily necessity to slow the aging process—but we think you should!
Photoaging is the term that we use for this slow, long-term type of sun damage that occurs over many years without sunscreen. It can make your skin look rough with an uneven texture, discolored and even contribute to loose or saggy skin. Of course, it’s the major contributor to the development of fine lines and wrinkling as well.
Photoaging resulting from lack of sunscreen use
Yes, skin cancer is worrisome and should be motivation for you to use sunscreen. Even a very slow accumulation of UV damage over an extended period can cause precancerous changes and skin cancer! The bottom line is that Southern California residents should wear a good, broad-spectrum sunscreen every day to protect their skin.
If you’re thinking it’s too confusing to pick out one that you like and would be willing to wear every day—you might be right! It can be harder than you think to find one that checks all the safety boxes and also feels nice enough to put on every day. The FDA has tried to make the process a bit less confusing by requiring sunscreen manufacturers to be clearer in their labeling of SPF or “sunburn protection factor”. They have also made a public education push to help consumers understand that a higher SPF doesn’t mean a “better” sunscreen. In fact, a product with an SPF of 100 provides no better protection from harmful UV radiation than one with an SPF of 50.
So, now that you know that you don’t need a higher SPF than 50, what else should you know? Surprisingly, a lot! How and when you use your sunscreen matters, so we’ve comprised a tip list here on this page to help you get the most out of your sunscreen! Here it is:
Don’t take your chances! Now that you know more about sunscreen, pick a good one and use it correctly every day to keep your skin looking young and healthy.