Getting some sun is essential for our health and overall wellbeing. However, too much sun is detrimental and could lead to health issues like skin cancer. 

In addition, exposure to the sun’s UV rays will result in early signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines.

Effects of Sunscreen on Antiaging

In the last few years, the paradigm on sunscreen and antiaging has shifted as more people realize the effects of unprotected sun exposure. As a result, more people are seeing the need to apply sunscreen and include it in their daily skincare routine

Studies show that the daily use of sunscreen prevents premature signs of aging. Therefore, sunscreen is an essential skin care product whether you plan to go out into the sun or not.

Applying sunscreen should be a routine you stick to regardless of your schedule or the weather. Doing this will help you avoid instances where you step out of the house without sun protection.

You may have to reapply your sunscreen, especially if you plan to go swimming or stay in the sun for a long time. So, carrying a tube of your favorite sunscreen will allow you to reapply when needed. 

Sunscreen to Reverse Aging

A study by the Journal of Dermatologic Surgery shows that sunscreen can reverse the signs of photoaging and existing photodamage. Think of issues like wrinkles, pigmentation, skin texture, and clarity. 

Applying a broadspectrum photostable sunscreen daily will help reverse these signs of aging and protect you from further sun damage. 

A great alternative to reverse aging would be getting a botox treatment. However, the price you would pay for botox would be higher than investing in and consistently using a quality sunscreen. 

Choosing the Right Sunscreen for Antiaging

Companies realize the growing demand for sunscreen in the beauty industry and continue to develop different products to cater to your needs. First, however, you must ensure that you are investing in the right sunscreen to give you great results.

The first thing to remember is that investing in a moisturizer with SPF is not enough. You’ll need to include an actual sunscreen to maximize your skin’s protection.

In addition, the number on your sunscreen matters, and you should pay close attention to it. Your sunscreen will have the term SPF on it, which means sun protection factor, followed by a number. 

Aiming for sunscreens with a higher SPF like SPF 30 or SPF 50 is advised. Studies show that sunscreen is mostly underapplied, leaving your skin vulnerable to some damage. So, applying generously and going for a higher SPF will compensate for any underapplication. 

Physical vs. Chemical Sunscreens: What You Should Know

When choosing your sunscreen, you have two options which include a physical (mineral barrier) or chemical sunscreen. Physical sunscreens, such as titanium or zinc oxide,  provide a barrier that helps you stay protected from the sun’s UV rays. This sunscreen sits on the surface of your skin and reflects UV radiation away to keep you protected.

On the other hand, chemical sunscreens sink into your skin’s pores to protect you from the sun’s UV rays. These chemical sunscreens feature active ingredients that absorb the UV rays to avoid damage to your skin. 

Physical sunscreens are effective immediately after application while chemical sunscreens take 15 to 20 minutes to start working. For either type, I recommend against using sprays, as nano particles from sprays can cause problems when they get into the lungs. Stick with a topical cream. The physical sunscreens can cause a whitish color to your skin and are thicker, but they last longer if you’re just hanging out in the sun. On the other hand, they get sweated off more easily if you are being physically active in the sun.

Many people prefer chemical sunscreens to physical sunscreens because they are easy to wear and do not leave a white film or feel sticky. They also can last longer when you are sweating. However, they are both great options that protect from sun damage. So, you can choose the one that works best for you and enjoy your time in the sun.

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Myles Spar, MD, MPH is board certified in Internal Medicine and in Integrative Medicine. As a clinician, teacher and researcher on faculty of two major medical centers, he has led the charge for a more proactive, holistic and personalized approach to care that focuses on cutting edge technology and preventative care. Dr. Spar has been a consultant with the NBA, presented a TEDx Talk, appeared on national television, and been featured in publications such as the Men’s Journal and the Los Angeles Times. He was most recently National Medical Director and Chief Medical Officer of a national medical practice, but is available to consult with individual patients interested in a personalized approach to optimal performance and health.