Tips and Tricks for Anti-Aging: Sunscreen
January 23, 2022

It’s no secret that our skin becomes dull, wrinkled, and saggy as we age. Brown spots—also known as age spots, and blood vessels appear, resulting in an aged appearance. It should encourage you to know that it’s never too late to make changes and help your skin look better. Some secrets are not so secret to improving the appearance of your skin!

Tip #1 Wear Sunscreen!

The number one anti-aging product on the market for skin is sunscreen. Say it again; the number one product on the market to reduce the effects of aging skin is sunscreen! The better you are at using sunscreen, the better your skin will look now and later in life. Let’s explore answers to common questions about the sun and skin.

What does the sun do to my skin?

The sun gives off harmful UVA and UVB rays that release free radicals, damaging the collagen and elastin in your skin. Collagen and elastin help keep your skin looking younger. So, when your collagen is damaged, wrinkles form, and when your elastin is damaged, skin sags.

UV rays from the sun also cause brown spots to form on your skin. These brown spots and related discoloration give skin a dull, aged appearance. The UV rays also cause damage to our blood vessels which leaves our skin with a red and ruddy complexion. Because broken blood vessels are highly visible on the surface of our skin, it’s an immediate perceived sign of aging.

A woman applying sunscreen to her body is an example of the number one anti-aging product on the market.

How can I protect my skin from the sun?

If you follow the following sun protection guidelines, you can protect your skin from premature aging!

  • Avoid activities outside during peak hours of the day (10 am-4 pm). If you have to be outside during these times, seek shade.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 50+ daily that protects against UVA and UVB rays. Apply it daily and every 1-2 hours during exposure to the sun, including when you need to drive or ride in a car.

    Use a nickel-size amount for your face and 1 ounce for your entire body. If you don’t apply enough sunscreen and do not re-apply it frequently, you won’t get the protection you need.
  • Because the skin on your lips is also affected by the sun, use Chapstick or lip aid with sunscreen SPF 50+.
  • Sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection, especially large sunglasses, do wonders to keep the skin around your eyes looking youthful. Disguise is not the only reason celebrities wear huge sunglasses!
  • Wear clothing that has UPF 50+. Yes, this does exist. Some examples are Coolibar and Solumbra.
  • Finally, wear a wide brim hat while you also wear your sunscreen for better protection, especially when there’s no shade.

How do I select the right sunscreen?

The task of selecting sunscreen can be daunting. There are so many on the market, making it harder to choose the right one. You need to know several basic terms before selecting a particular sunscreen.

  • SPF (Sun Protection Factor): SPF is a number that tells us how long we can be in the sun before the UVB rays burn and turn skin red. For example, with SPF 50, it takes 50 times as long for your skin to burn than if you used nothing. Currently, there is no measure for UVA rays.
  • Broad Spectrum: This means that the sunscreen blocks against penetration of UVA and UVB rays. Both types of UV rays are harmful and can cause skin cancer. UVB rays are responsible for sunburns. UVA rays cause wrinkles.
  • Water-Resistant: No sunscreen is truly water-proof because they all wash off. Make sure you select a water-resistant sunscreen that lasts 40-80 minutes before you have to re-apply it. This means it takes 40-80 minutes of exposure to water before the sunscreen is gone.

    While you’re in the water, UPF clothing is a better option for sun protection. UPF clothing won’t lose sun protection abilities no matter how long you’re in the water.
  • There are two types of sunscreens; Physical and Chemical:
    1. Physical blocking sunscreens add a protective or barrier layer to your skin so the UV rays won’t get absorbed and damage your skin. Protective ingredients within physical sunscreens include zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. The benefit of using physical sunscreens is that they work immediately upon application.
    2. Chemical blocking sunscreens absorb into your skin and cause a chemical reaction that neutralizes the UV rays. Protective ingredients within chemical sunscreens include avobenzone and oxybenzone. However, people with sensitive skin may need to avoid chemical sunscreens because these chemicals can irritate the skin. Another drawback to chemical sunscreens is that they take 30 minutes to work.

For more information, Consumer Reports publishes a yearly study about the best sunscreens. You can also find a local dermatologist here on AgeEnvy or ask your own for advice (highly recommended).


Practicing sun protection and daily sunscreen use is vital to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful rays. If you do not protect your skin, you will be susceptible to wrinkles, premature skin aging, and skin cancers. Some skin cancers are deadly. Make sure you select a good sunscreen and use it correctly.

This article series showcases anti-aging tips with some tricks each month.
January 2022 | Author: Jennifer T. Trent MD, FAAD