Do you know what really makes you age?
So today I am about to talk about the first and the most important fact that makes us age and that is Sun damage. Damage happens due to UVA and UVB radiation. Sun exposure causes many skin ailments such as hyper-pigmentation, skin cancer and premature ageing and a lot more.
Since Sri Lanka is a tropical country we are highly prone to sun exposure. But the good news is since most of us are brown colour skin owners we tend to have protection from our extra melanin and yet our prevalence of skin cancer is lower than lighter skin toned Europeans. But yet we too get prematurely aged after certain time of being tanned and there’s always a limit of tanning too and it differs from individual. Also, we love being evenly toned without hyperpigmented areas and blemishes and to be devoid of wrinkles. Also, it is best to protect the skin from skin cancer even though the prevalence is low.
So how to protect from photo aging due to sun damage/UVA and UVB irradiation. ….?
01. Wear a proper sunscreen regularly
Then the next question comes as how to select a proper sunscreen?
For that you have to consult a dermatologist or even your general physician can help you sometimes.
From my side, I will give you some tips.
Your sunscreen must have at least SPF 25 or more and also PA ++ or more(+++,++++)
Then comes the question what is this SPF? It is elaborated as Sun Protection Factor. It indicates sunscreens ability to protect you from UVB rays which are responsible for most of the sun burning and skin cancer.
What does this factor value indicates? As an example suppose it is SPF 20. That means you get protection from 20 into 10 times number of minutes of protection after wearing it.
So it means you are protected for 200 mins. So after 200 minutes, you have to reapply it.
But in case of very high SPF values like SPF 60 or more is it really necessary for us to wear such high values in normal day to day life? The answer is NO.
But if you are going for beach sports or outside activities under a whole day of sun exposure such products can help you.
Also, it is ideal to reapply sunscreen in every 2hourly because of sweating and through wind also sometimes it fades away. But at least if you apply sunscreen in mid-day after 9 AM to 3 PM with SPF 30 or more, somewhat good protection you would get.
Then regarding PA value. It is indicated how much UVA protection you would get.remember that SPF alone can’t protect you from UVA radiation and it is also highly damaging on our genetic levels.
So when you are buying a sunscreen, the best person to recommend you is a dermatologist. Because medicated ones are always better than over the counter ones.
I usually use heliocare sunscreen for my personal use. But there must be other good brands as well in the pharmaceutical market.
And it is ok to spend a little bit extra on a good branded sunscreen. Because sunscreen is the best anti ageing cream you can wear and it is the best thing you can do to your skin to get rid of many inflammatory reactions.
In a simple skincare routine you don’t need tons of products to be applied and especially cheaper over the counter drugstore brands.
A sunscreen, a good cleanser and a good exfoliator is more than enough to maintain a healthy youthful skin.
02. Be properly hydrated
Do you know simply being hydrated by drinking lots of water can actually lower your tendency to be sunburnt?
Yes, it is. When you are properly hydrated your skin is less likely to get damaged by sun exposure. But it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wear a sunscreen. Sunscreen is a must. But being hydrated is an added extra protection.
Also when your skin is not dried due to proper hydration that itself would make you glow and youthful and also it helps in flush out toxins.
03. Eat lots of Vegetables with lots of colours including green leafy vegetables-
Do you know that Vitamin A and C can reduce sun damage and photosensitivity?
Vegetables and green leaves are the best sources to get antioxidants such as Vitamin A and C.They helps you to recover from ageing at cellular levels.
04. Snack on Nuts and on fruits
Nuts contain high amounts of Vitamin E and even fruits like avocados do. Also, fruits too contain Vitamin A and C.All of these are most potent antioxidants that fights against ageing. Also, they protect your cardiovascular health, thus leading to having a younger heart.
05. Eat good sources of animal meat, fish and healthy natural saturated fats-
Do you know that mineral Zinc is mostly found in animal food sources and it is needed for you to get rid of sun damage?
Most of the sunscreen too contains Zinc oxide. Thus it is a vital mineral to protect you from sun damage.
In contrast to the conventional beliefs, saturated fat is no longer considered evil and ghee, butter and coconut oil can actually slow down ageing and even cardioprotective by reducing the glycemic index of foods.
Polypodium leucotomos extract-
****last but not the least and an extra tip- Polypodium leucotomos extract-
It is a fern grown in central America and it is proven as a sun-protective ingredient that we can even be consumed orally.
But this is highly expensive and the only known effective sunscreen pills that contain this is made by heliocare.
I myself haven’t used it because I can’t afford it. But it has strong evidence that this herbal extract can work on your DNA levels to protect you from sun damage.
But still, even if you take it, you must wear a physical sunscreen.
This article was only about how to reduce sun damage. It is best to avoid sun exposure in unnecessary times and even best to protect you from clothing and by hats and umbrellas.
Regarding other facts like stress, blood sugar levels and even decreased oxygenation i would talk about in another article.