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Yes, spending time in the great outdoors feels pretty darn amazing—but sadly, the sun can do a real number on your skin. Did you sunburn easily as a kid? Or did you frequently slather yourself in tanning oil as a teen before heading out for a day at the beach? Most of us have been there. So, it’s safe to say you probably have some form of sun damage. This can range from premature signs of aging like wrinkles and dark spots (oh, what fun!) to bigger issues such as skin cancer. Yikes.
Well, we have good news and bad news for you. The good news: You can help minimize the appearance of superficial sun damage (like wrinkles and dark spots). The bad news: A lot of damage goes beyond the skin’s surface—so it’s important to visit your derm yearly for a full-body skin check to determine whether any of that damage that occurred in your youth has developed into something more serious. Here’s what you need to know about your skin’s relationship with the sun—and how to reduce visible signs of damage:
The sun emits two different kinds of rays: UVA and UVB, according to The Skin Cancer Foundation. UVA rays tend to penetrate deep into the skin, which causes an immediate tanning effect and often signs of aging down the road. UVB rays, meanwhile, cause surface-level damage—quickly burning, followed by gradually tanning the skin, according to the World Health Organization. While most UVB rays are filtered by the atmosphere, these are the ones that can cause skin cancer. And don’t think you’re just at risk to develop UV damage on sunny days. You can even get burned on cloudy days, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.
When it comes to protecting your skin from the sun, we’ve got you covered. Follow these tips to prevent visible signs of premature aging caused by the sun:
1. Wear SPF every day—and stay covered. Practicing safe sun is important for everyone—even if you don’t have noticeable signs of aging on your skin just yet. Slathering on a broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen should become a daily habit, if it’s not already. (Broad-spectrum SPF protects against both UVA and UVB rays.) That’s because wearing SPF can help prevent future damage. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends using a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. You should apply it to all areas that aren’t covered by clothing. For face, try the L’Oréal Age Perfect Hydra-Nutrition Facial Oil SPF 30, which is formulated with eight essential oils along with sun protection in a non-greasy formula. What else you can do: Cover up when you’re out in the sun by wearing a hat, long sleeves, and oversized sunglasses, and seek shade under an umbrella if you’re at the beach or somewhere else where you’re under direct sunlight. Plus, remember to reapply sunscreen every 90 minutes!
2. Target dark spots. Help fade the appearance of dark spots, sun damage, and post-acne marks by using a dark spot corrector like the L’Oréal Paris Dark Spot Correcting & Illuminating Serum Corrector. This clinically-proven formula can help improve the appearance of dark spots for a more even, radiant, and younger-looking complexion. Apply it on your face morning and night before using moisturizer.
3. Add an antioxidant serum to your routine. Look for products, like an antioxidant formulated serum, that addresses the premature signs of aging. Antioxidants such as vitamin C can help brighten the look of your skin and protect against environmental aggressors. Topical retinol and glycolic acid can also help reduce the appearance of surface-level sun damage.
4. Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! According to the AAD, since moisturizing traps water in the skin, it can help reduce the look of some fine lines. Try the L’Oréal Paris HydraGenius Daily Liquid Care line which comes in varieties for normal to oily skin, normal to dry skin, and extra dry skin. The water-based moisturizers are formulated with hyaluronic acid and aloe water for long-lasting hydration.