Despite all the warnings and information out there about how you should take care of your skin and what you should avoid no matter what, there are still plenty of women who are ruining their skin, whether they realize it or not. And, the one thing you shouldn’t be doing is exposing your skin to the sun—especially unprotected.
Sun exposure at any age is detrimental to your skin. But, the older you get and the more you subject your skin to the sun, the worse the visible effects become. “Chronic sun exposure, or intermittent sun exposure, leads to sunburns that can lead to both significant aging and skin cancer,” says Seattle dermatologist Jennifer Reichel, MD. “The number one causative factor of skin cancer is sun exposure.”
Sunscreen and antioxidants are crucial in protecting your skin, but so is following a 100-percent no-tolerance policy for sun exposure—something that Dr. Reichel stresses. “This means wearing hats, applying and reapplying sunscreen and seeking shade. Sun exposure is associated with aging, so if you’re seeking anti-aging treatments, but continue to expose your skin to the sun, many of the treatments you’re doing will be reversed,” she says. For example, if you’re having IPL for browns spots or discoloration and continue to expose your skin to the sun, the effects can be null and void.
While Dr. Reichel isn’t suggesting living your life indoors, she does say that protection, especially starting during childhood, is the key to healthy, younger-looking skin.