In the past decade, we have been bombarded –and rightfully so- by the message that the Sun is our skin’s worst enemy. We now know too well that high frequency Sun exposure leads to premature ageing but most importantly, causes skin cancer.
Avoiding the Sun and protecting our skin and our eyes from the Sun rays are great habits that benefit us more than we realize. But the truth is, few people knew how bad the Sun was 20 or 30 years ago. Back then, most people could not get enough of the Sun and would just spend their summer days baking for hours without any protection whatsoever.
Here is the scary part: Even though you may think that your skin was not really affected by this intense and consistent exposure, the damage done a few years ago is unfortunately working its way to the surface and there is not much you can do about it now.
Fine lines, wrinkles, sagging jaw lines, patches of mottled pigmentation and age spots are emerging. You may think these are due to the normal process of ageing but it is very likely that the Sun is the main culprit. The occurrence of skin cancer is rising and this type of cancer is becoming the most prevalent. Rates of melanoma, the less common but more dangerous form of skin cancer, have more than quadrupled since the 1980s. And once again, it is not occurring because of how you treat your skin now but how you used to treat it 10, 20 years ago.
And if you think that only middle aged people are affected by skin damage and skin cancer, think again! Shockingly, melanoma is one of the most common cancers among the 15-34 age group! A bad Sunburn in childhood could double your risk of developing melanoma later. Experts see the Sunburnt DNA as a real time bomb because even when the Sunburn fades, you are not safe: damage remains.
As I mentioned earlier, the effects of Sun damage take years to manifest themselves. The number of years does depend on the extent of your Sun exposure but also on your skin tone (pale skin tones are the most susceptible to damage) and your lifestyle (where you live, what you eat and how well you protect yourself)
So what can you do to prevent future damage and make sure your skin is strong?
- The obvious first answer is: protect your skin. I cannot say it enough. Choose a good quality Sunscreen with high SPF and apply it daily on your face, neck, chest, hands and any other area that will be exposed, even on a cloudy day, no matter the season. It takes 2 minutes of your day and could save your looks as well as your Life! Wearing Sunglasses, a hat and staying in the shade as much as possible will also help keep you safe.
- Your lifestyle has a huge impact on how well your skin can deal with the Sun and how it reacts to it in the long run. Unsurprisingly, the way and what you eat will make a difference. Eating a healthy diet that is packed with antioxidants (lycopene – found in tomatoes, beta-carotene – found in carrots, and vitamin E – found in green leafy vegetables, seeds and nuts) does slow down the gradual damage within your skin while toxic habits, such as smoking, accelerates it. Making the right choices will add many healthy years to your Life!
- If you have noticed damage on your skin such as brown marks, rough texture, sagging, lines and wrinkles – seek a professional skin consultation. Do not waste time and money on skincare brands that are not appropriate to your needs and that will not deliver. Aesthetics South Africa offers a wide range of treatments to improve pigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles such as chemical peels and non-surgical skin rejuvenation using injectables.
We also stock Heliocare, a gold standard Sun protection range which comes in the form of a traditional cream as well as convenient pills to help you help you maintain a more youthful and healthy skin such that you can still enjoy the Sun safely in moderate amounts. To book a consultation, do not hesitate to call the practice on 011 954 0070/3.