The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that more than 80 percent of skin aging is caused by damage from the sun. The accumulation of daily sun exposure leads to premature aging of the skin, linked to the development of wrinkles, age spots, skin cancer and dry skin.
Dermatologists use the term ‘photo-aging’ to describe the effects of sunlight on unprotected skin. Aging caused by the sun (photo-aging), depends on the skin color of the individual with fair-skinned people being more vulnerable than dark-skinned people.
Photo-aging occurs over a period of years. With repeated exposure to the sun, the skin loses the ability to repair itself, and the damage accumulates. Scientific studies have shown that repeated ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the synthesis of new collagen. The sun also attacks our elastin. Sun-weakened skin ceases to spring back much earlier than skin protected from UV rays. Skin also becomes loose, wrinkled, and leathery much earlier with unprotected exposure to sunlight.
To protect your skin from sun exposure
– Try to cover your body to reduce your exposure to sunlight. Wear a hat, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt if you will be outdoors long.
– Wear sunscreen when you are outdoors, even if it is cloudy or in the wintertime.