Before you see the plastic surgeon, before you plunk down half a paycheck on that pricey anti-aging cream, in fact, before you do anything, put on sunscreen.
While most of us know it reduces the risk of skin cancer, did you also know it’s an amazing beauty secret that can help keep skin looking young?
The reason, say experts, is that when sunscreen blocks out the sun’s damaging rays, it also blocks their aging effects.
“The sun impacts collagen production in the skin, and without collagen, skin won’t naturally maintain that plump, moist, youthful, wrinkle-free look,” says Antell. Get enough sun exposure, he says, and skin will wrinkle long before its time.
Without the protection of sunscreen, just a few minutes of daily sun exposure over the years can cause noticeable changes in how skin looks and feels, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
Not only will you see more wrinkles and fine lines, but also more freckles, age spots, and spider veins. Skin itself can look rough and leathery or loose and slack – all thanks to the sun.
Sunscreen can protect your skin from these damaging rays, so that even if you do spend time outdoors, your face is less likely to give away your age.
Crutchfield advises choosing a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher. Because sun breaks down its effectiveness over time, if you’re going to be in direct sunlight for an extended period, reapply every hour or two.
Another option: Use your regular sunscreen before putting on makeup (it should go on first, before anything). Then, for touch-ups, use a light, translucent mineral powder to add extra protection throughout the day.
“These powders contain a natural sunscreen, and since they generally don’t build up on the skin you can keep adding protection all day long,” says Crutchfield.