Does tanning cause premature aging of the skin?


Many of us strive to have perfectly bronzed skin.

We lay out and tan for hours in the summer months, head to the tanning beds and booths year-round, and use products like bronzers to speed up the process. But one of the things we often don’t think about when we damage our skin to get that perfect color is the negative effects it might have on our skin as we get older.

We hear about the risks of sun exposure all the time, but usually the focus is on the dangers of skin cancer — a very real risk we all take when we willingly expose ourselves to the sun, even if it’s only a few times or for a few minutes. But what about wrinkles and age spots?

The EPA estimates that 90% of the aging effects we see on our skin as we get older are due to sun exposure throughout our lives — that includes wrinkles, spots, and all kinds of other things we actively try to prevent or treat later in life.

There are many things we can do to help prevent the effects of aging, such as using under eye treatment for wrinkles, staying hydrated, sleeping on our backs, removing makeup before bed, and so much more. But if you really want to do something about your wrinkles and spots, the best thing you can do is limit your sun exposure.

This starts with using sunscreen. Make sure you are using a sunscreen that is strong enough to be effective — 15 SPF will help, but it won’t be the most helpful. Most dermatologists recommend 45 SPF — anything less than that won’t be as effective, and most sunscreens that are more than that aren’t that much more effective.

In addition to using a sunscreen with enough SPF, you should reapply as often as necessary. If you’re going to be outside for extended periods of time, doing activities that cause you to sweat a lot, or swimming, you’ll need to reapply more often.

On days when you won’t be exposed to the sun a lot, you can still help your skin by applying sunscreen to the parts of your skin that are always exposed, like your face. Many makeups and lip balms now contain SPF, so it can be as simple as choosing a makeup with sun protection built in.

And if you’re still trying to attain that bronze skin tone, there are ways of doing so without causing undue harm to your skin. A professional spray tan is your best bet for even coverage that lasts, but you also can use self-applied tanning lotions at home as well.

In the end, having a tan shouldn’t be as important as your health — there are many reasons for avoiding the sun, and skin cancer and wrinkles or spots are just some of them. Do what’s best for your health, because appearance shouldn’t matter as much as that.

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