How often have you heard about the dangers of not applying sun protection when you go outside? Sun exposure can cause skin damage, dark spots, and even skin cancer. Even though hearing the same advice over and over again might be annoying, ignoring it might be more dangerous than you think.
Sunscreen has many benefits, including protecting against skin aging and keeping your skin smooth and young. Everyone wants their skin to be healthy and youthful, yet many people forget to use sun protection regularly.
Luckily, there is a range of anti-aging sunscreens on the market that can help. (And you might even be surprised to find them in your skincare products already!)
Continue reading for the ultimate guide to finding the best anti-aging sunscreens.
Choosing sunscreen might seem easy, but it can actually be a very daunting task. But why is this?
Well, for starters, there are so many different brands that all offer different benefits. For example, some may claim to be better for darker skin tones, whereas others might boast a strong anti-aging effect. From mineral sunscreens to gels and creams, it's hard to know where to start.
But don’t let this fool you! Sunscreen has one basic function: protecting all skin tones and types from UVA rays and UVB rays. The rest is just down to preference. Before we go into all the ways you can benefit from using sunscreen regularly, let’s look at all the different types of sun protection available on the market.
You might think that the words “sunscreen” and “sunblock” are synonyms, but that’s not true. There are two types of sun protection – chemical and physical.
Chemical Sunscreens - Chemical sunscreen protects you by absorbing the sun’s UV rays.
Physical Sunscreens - Physical sunscreens (sunblock) reflect UVB and UVA rays. They act as a shield for the skin, helping it keep away the rays and all the side effects of the sun. They're also known as "mineral sunscreens."
A big difference between the two is their ingredients. The formula of physical and chemical sunscreens isn’t the same, and both kinds require different ingredients. For example, you might find hyaluronic acid in chemical sunscreens. If that ingredient sounds familiar, it's because hyaluronic acid is a great moisturizer and is found in many skin care and anti-aging products.
Don’t like choosing between the two? Don’t worry! The good news is that broad-spectrum sunscreen is also an option. This type contains both physical and chemical ingredients and can be purchased in many different drugstores and pharmacies.
When it comes to different types of applications, there are several sunscreen options to choose from. Your choice will depend largely on your needs and what's convenient for you.
Creams, just like moisturizers, are most suitable for people who suffer from dry skin. These are often used for facial application and contain ingredients that won't irritate you but will keep the skin smooth. Most anti-aging sunscreens also come in the form of cream.
This type of sunscreen is popular for small children. Kids are often impatient and fidgety when it comes to applying sunscreen, so having a spray formula that's easy to blend can be a true blessing for parents.
It’s important to note that not all spray sunscreens are suitable for the face area, so make sure you read the instructions carefully before using them. It’s very easy to accidentally inhale spray sunscreens, and, needless to say, that’s not healthy for us.
Lotions are probably the most commonly found sunscreen type, and they can be applied all over the body. Lotions tend to dry up pretty quickly and have a thinner formula than the other types, so they won’t look or feel greasy on the body.
If you have thin hair, gel might be the best sunscreen for you. Gel sunscreens work amazingly well for the scalp area. This area is often neglected and tends to burn quite intensely, so pick up a gel sunscreen to protect your head!
In addition, gel sunscreen often contains hyaluronic acid, which will moisturize your skin and provide UVB protection.
This innovative application type works well on the face area, especially under the eyes.
These are not the only differences when it comes to sunscreens. Buckle up - this is where it gets confusing.
Without a dermatologist or a professional’s help, it’s easy to get trapped in the chaos of skincare products. Sunscreens have varied types of SPF. (You might have noticed this if you’re using them regularly.) SPF is the protection factor, ranging from 8 to 60. The SPF measures the amount of UVB protection that sunscreen can provide.
It’s important to note that UVA protection doesn’t have a rating system.
Continue reading to find out how to pick the correct SPF for your particular needs.
You’ve probably already come across sunscreens with both SPF 30 and SPF 50, and you might be wondering what the difference between the two is - or if there is any difference at all.
SPF 30 is the most common type of sunscreen and is suitable for most skin types. SPF 30 blocks 97% of harmful UVB rays, while SPF 15 blocks only 93%. SPF 50 blocks 98% of UVB rays, which isn't a huge difference percentage-wise.
So, is this little bit of extra protection worth it? The answer depends on your skin type and how long you plan to spend in the sun.
If you have pale, sensitive skin or a sun allergy, it’s safer to go with SPF 50. If you’re planning on spending a lot of time in the sun, or have a holiday coming up, then it’s also wise to invest in an SPF 50. More sun exposure will cause more sun damage.
No matter the number, you won’t protect yourself against the sun's harmful rays unless you reapply it often, so don’t forget to be consistent with your sunscreen application!
Wearing sunscreen every day comes with many benefits. People have seen incredible results from wearing sunscreen, including an improvement in signs of aging and a decrease in sun damage, even on the hottest days.
Regular sunscreen application can also prevent skin damage over time, such as dark spots.
Before we get into why it’s so beneficial to apply sunscreen daily (especially if you want to preserve your youthful skin and delay premature signs of aging), let’s delve into the other benefits of regular sun protection.
We’ve already covered what sunscreen does – it prevents UV rays from affecting the skin. But why is that so important?
Well, exposure to UV rays can come with many health risks, including skin disorders, skin aging, and skin cancer. So make sure you lather up with SPF 50 for the best effect.
Applying sunscreen at regular intervals will ensure your skin won't experience any of the nasty side effects that come with sunburns and sun damage, such as irritation, swelling, painful red patches of skin, itching, and peeling.
Sunburns aren’t dangerous solely because they cause skin irritation and pain - they also increase the risk of skin cancer. Make sure you apply sunscreen often to protect against those UVA rays and avoid this.
And if that wasn’t enough motivation to get into the habit of applying sunscreen, here's another benefit.
The proteins that keep our skin firm, healthy, and youthful, such as collagen, elastin, and keratin, can be preserved if you regularly wear sunscreen. Exposure to UV radiation can cause the production of free radicals, which then break down collagen. It's important to boost collagen production, as it makes up the building blocks of our skin, bones, and connective tissue. Without it, you'll end up with sagging skin and other facial aging signs, such as wrinkles and fine lines.
If you want good skin elasticity and skin health in the long run, keep these proteins protected from harmful environmental influences - yep, that means UVB radiation. Another way to boost collagen production is by consuming and applying antioxidants, such as vitamin E and vitamin C. Taking supplements is also important, as highlighted by this study.
When it comes to browsing the best anti-aging sunscreens, choose one that contains the ingredient titanium oxide so you can experience these benefits.
Blotches and patches caused by sun exposure can be very irritating to deal with. But don’t worry - applying sunscreen protects against these, too, no matter your skin tone.
It’s a well-known fact that one of the safest ways to protect your skin from sun exposure and UVA rays is by wearing protective clothing like long sleeves, trousers, and caps. Since this isn’t a particularly productive option for the summertime (especially if you live in a hot climate), it’s wise to stick to sunscreen. It’s much easier to apply a couple of layers of sunscreen daily than to wear clothing that will make you boil with heat.
Not to mention, not all clothing materials are created equally. Some materials, such as cotton, aren’t nearly as protective as people may think. This means that even if you wear a long-sleeved shirt, you won’t get any protection from harmful UV rays. Instead, opt for a spray sunscreen that will cover your entire body and flaunt your tank tops and shorts.
You might be one of those people who enjoys using many skincare products daily. Your skincare routine is always on point; you’re using the best ingredients the market has to offer, and, more importantly, you’re being consistent with it.
But is this enough?
The truth is it doesn't matter how many products you use at home. You might own the best anti-aging product in the world, but if you aren’t protecting your skin from the sun regularly, it will start to deteriorate.
Topical skin care products can only do so much, and they certainly can’t protect you from harmful UVA and UVB rays and sun damage. However, that's not to say some skin care products don't have a sun protection factor. Make sure to check the label.
But does sunscreen really have the ability to prevent aging? Everyone always talks about how useful sunscreen is in preventing skin cancer and sunburns, but does the same apply to fine lines and wrinkles? Let’s find out.
Any anti-aging skincare routine should start with sunscreen. But you don’t have to take our word for it! Check out this anti-aging study that examines sunscreen and its benefits - the results will blow you away!
According to the study, regular sunscreen application protects people from various signs of aging, such as wrinkles and spots, while keeping elastin levels intact. In case you didn't know, elastin is crucial for healthy skin.
The study consisted of more than 900 participants who were followed for four years. Some participants were instructed to apply sunscreen daily in a particular way, and others weren’t given any instructions at all. However, they weren’t prohibited from using sunscreen since the researchers deemed it unethical.
The results? Those who used sunscreen the right way and regularly were 24% less likely to suffer from premature aging. The researchers came to this conclusion by using skin samples before and after the four-year period and measuring the amount of damage caused to the skin during that time.
This study is revolutionary since it’s the first one in this field. We hope it inspires you to cultivate this habit daily, preventing much larger problems than premature aging in the long run.
Another dilemma that often comes up is whether or not all sunscreen is created equal in terms of anti-aging benefits.
The good news is that as long as you’re choosing SPF 30 or above, any broad-spectrum sunscreen will ensure you experience these benefits. You could also purchase a moisturizer that contains SPF, such as Misumi's Wrinkle-Free All Day Moisturizer. This anti-aging sunscreen and moisturizer protect against sun damage and will also leave you with a youthful glow. It might be a better option for those with mature skin who don’t have much time to spare in the morning.
If you weren’t wearing sunscreen regularly before, you might be asking yourself whether now is too late to start. Don’t worry; it’s never too late to start.
According to the study referenced above, if you start to cultivate this habit now, you might experience a reversal of existing skin aging and damage. This is excellent news for those who haven’t been consistent with sunscreen application before reading this.
So, don’t waste any more time; your skin will thank you later. Start by purchasing sunscreen which is suitable for your skin type. Whether you have oily, dry, or combination skin, there’s something out there for you - you just have to look for it.
Starting now will protect against further sun damage, aging signs, and skin cancers.
Now that we've convinced you to start using sunscreen regularly, here are a few things you should consider before purchasing.
Select a sunscreen that contains at least SPF 30, but feel free to go as high as 50. As we’ve mentioned before, SPF 30 creates a protective barrier against 97% of harmful UVB rays, so it’s more than sufficient for the average person. If you have problematic skin, a pale skin tone, or are more prone to visible signs of aging (such as wrinkles and fine lines), it’s safer to go with 50, just in case.
Pay attention to the ingredients in the sunscreen. You should be aware of what you’re putting on your face.
If you want to use physical sunscreen (or "mineral sunscreen"), you’ll likely come across minerals such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. If you opt for a chemical sunscreen, you’ll see names such as bemotrizinol, octisalate, homosalate, biscotizole, and avobenzone. If you want the best of both worlds, it’s good to go for broad-spectrum sunscreen.
But which ingredients should you avoid? Oxybenzone probably comes at the top of the list, as it penetrates the skin and can disrupt the hormonal system.
Regardless of your skin type, you can still find your perfect sunscreen. If you have dry skin, you’ll need ingredients such as oils, lanolin, glycerin, and aloe vera. These will help against fine lines and wrinkles, too.
Oily skin types get the best results by using ingredients such as silica or isododecane, while those who suffer from sensitive or acne-prone skin should look for mineral sunscreens that are labeled ‘oil-free,’ ‘non-comedogenic,’ and ‘fragrance-free.’ In terms of active ingredients, zinc oxide and titanium dioxide can do wonders for this particular skin type. Avoid oils and alcohol since they can cause acne and aggravate sensitive skin even more.
The next thing you need to keep in mind is how to apply sunscreen. It’s no use paying attention to the sunscreen type, carefully reading the ingredient list, and being consistent if you’re applying sunscreen incorrectly. Execution is just as important as the habit itself, so let’s find out the best way to apply sunscreen.
Once you have the right sunscreen, here are the steps you need.
Before you start, check the expiration date of your product. When the sunscreen expires, it loses its effectiveness, which means it won't be able to protect you against sun exposure.
Make sure you apply sunscreen 15 to 30 minutes before going outside. If you’re an avid makeup user, use your anti-aging sunscreen before you put on your makeup and after you’ve applied your moisturizer. Or, if you want to save some time, you can also buy a moisturizer that contains SPF inside. Many skincare brands offer this, so it's super easy to find.
You could also purchase tinted sunscreen. These sunscreens are perfect if you want to cover any pimples, hyperpigmentation, or redness. Reapply sunscreen every two hours to get maximum protection, especially if you’re going in and out of water or sweating a lot. (Psst... if you're planning to go swimming, check to make sure your sunscreen is water resistant.)
When rubbing the sunscreen in, pay attention to spots that are easy to miss - like your ears.
Sunscreen should be applied every day, no matter what season it is or what the weather is like outside. When the skies are grey, most UV rays can still penetrate through the clouds and cause damage to your skin. To prevent this, apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen.
Generally speaking, it’s best to apply a teaspoon on your torso, a tablespoon between your arms, and at least a teaspoon of the product on each leg. When it comes to the face, half a teaspoon of an anti-aging sunscreen usually does the trick.
Make sure you wash your hands before touching your face to avoid transferring any bacteria. The general rule of applying sunscreen is: the more you apply, the better. There aren’t any side effects from applying too much sunscreen at once, but you might look overly greasy or be left with a white cast, depending on the type of sunscreen you choose.
Make sure you reapply the same amount of sunscreen every two hours unless you’ve been in water or sweating. In this case, you should reapply it immediately after. Don’t neglect your neck, feet, palms, and back.
Yes, sunscreen expires, too, just like any other skincare product. Most types of sunscreen can last from 12 to 18 months with no problem. If you want to preserve it as much as possible, don’t expose the bottle to high temperatures or direct sunlight.
Wearing expired sunscreen can cause irritation and adverse reactions. Not only that - it won't protect against skin cancer, skin aging, or harmful UVB rays, so pay attention to the shelf life.
Is applying sunscreen enough when you go outside? It certainly is the most important step, but there are other key elements you should pay attention to. Although some of these are minor, you might be risking skin damage by ignoring them, so keep that in mind.
Applying sunscreen every day is not an easy task. Chances are, you already have a lot on your mind when it comes to skincare, and applying an additional product is the last thing you want to do. But you shouldn't put your skin and health at risk.
Start small. Find a way to incorporate broad-spectrum sunscreen into your daily skincare routine and enjoy all the benefits it has to offer. Sunscreen can prevent harmful UV radiation from penetrating the skin. It can help with redness, itchiness, irritation, premature signs of aging, and skin cancer.
According to a recent study, sunscreen prevents premature aging and can reverse them. This is amazing news for people who haven’t cultivated the habit of regular sunscreen application just yet. So try it now and soak up all the anti-aging effects a good broad-spectrum sunscreen has to offer.
Make sure to follow your sunscreen up with other protection methods, such as wearing hats and sunglasses and avoiding peak hours. These will certainly help fend off those UVA rays and the skin damage that comes with it.
Hopefully, this article has inspired you to start using sunscreen more regularly.
Sunscreen and Prevention of Skin Aging
Can Antioxidants Help to Prevent UV-induced Free Radical Damage?
Hyaluronic acid: A key molecule in skin aging