How much would you spend to look forever young?
According to a Global Industry Analysis, the anti-aging market is predicted to be worth $191.7 billion by 2019. The anti-aging market consists of products and services ranging from anti-wrinkle, hair color, stretch marks, and surgical procedures (liposuction, breast augmentation, laser treatments, etc.).
In 2015 American’s dished out over $13.5 billion dollars on cosmetic procedures according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS).
This huge market growth in a category that was virtually non-existent 10 years ago can be attributed to multiple factors including increased marketing and knowledge about aging and advancements in technology. The spike can also be attributed to the large number of baby-boomers trying to age more gracefully than their parents.
But there is a limit to what anti-aging products and procedures can do. It is easier to take measures to prevent aging skin, than it is to reverse it. Preventative measures are also less invasive and much more affordable, they will also save you lots of money down the road.
The number one active ingredient in a lot of anti-aging moisturizers is sunscreen. The sun is responsible for a whopping 90% of premature skin aging- this can be from natural sun as well as tanning beds. Long-term sun exposure can result in premature wrinkling, sagging, leathery texture and “aging” or “liver-spots”.
In 2013, an Australian study involving 900 participants over a four-year period, found that the sunscreen users were 24% less likely to show increased signs of aging.
Similar to the sun, tanning beds also produce damaging UV rays. Tanning beds were reclassified by the FDA in 2014 from low risk to moderate risk devices based on the associated risk of skin cancer. Because of the risk of skin cancer, tanning beds are banned in some countries. For example, commercial use of a tanning bed in Australia subjects the operator to a $44,000 fine!
When Do I Actually Need Sunscreen?
Everyone, no matter their skin pigment or risk level, should wear sunscreen on his or her face, neck and chest everyday. EVERY. DAY.
Even on overcast days, 70-80% of the sun’s harmful rays go through the clouds and fog. Sun exposure is also different depending on elevation and location. Ultra-violet radiation levels (UVR) increase 4-5% for every 1,000ft of altitude- the higher up you are the more sunscreen protection you need. Reflection from snow, sand, water and concrete can also intensify the sun’s rays by 80%!
What’s “SPF” and How Do I Shop Sunscreen?
SPF is a scientific measurement of how much lower your risk of sun damage is based on the time it takes for the sun to penetrate your skin with sunscreen on. For example, a sunscreen with an SPF of 15 will take the sun 15 times longer to burn your skin than without any sunscreen. This can be misleading however, and doesn’t mean that we should stay in the sun 15, 30 or even 50 times longer without reapplying sunscreen.
SPF is also a measure of UVB protection. SPF 15 blocks about 93% or UVB, and SPF 50 blocks about 98%. Although those percentages sound very similar, even 4 percentage points can translate to a loss of half your protection power!
So what should you look for on a sunscreen bottle when shopping?
- Look for a sunscreen with broad-spectrum or multi-spectrum protection, this will protect you from both UVB and UVA rays.
- For everyday face protection opt for an SPF of no less than 30.
- If you’re going to the beach or going for a run, find a sunscreen that’s water and sweat resistant with no less than 50 SPF
- No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, so be sure to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours even if you’re wearing makeup!
Other Ways to Protect Against The Sun:
Our skin isn’t the only thing that’s vulnerable to the sun. Our eyes are susceptible to sun damage too! Extended UV and other radiation can cause cataracts, muscular degeneration, pingueculae, pterygia, and photokeratitis that can cause temporary vision loss.
To help protect your eyes opt for a pair of sunglasses with 100% UV protection. A wrap around style that covers the sides of your eyes can also be extremely helpful at blocking out the sun’s harmful rays.
Sunhats and visors are also stylish ways to help protect your face from the sun!
WHAT THE DOCTOR SAYS:
About one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, more than all other cancers combined. However, skin cancer is one of the most preventable cancers. About 90% of skin cancer is related to UV exposure which includes the sun and tanning beds. Adequate sunscreen can reduce the risk of skin cancer by 50% but most Americans who use sunscreen fail to use enough (one ounce) or fail to reapply every two hours.