We know that wearing sunscreen keeps us from getting sunburned, but why else should you wear sunscreen? Here are four other reasons why you should wear sunscreen every day, even if it’s not summertime.
1. Decrease your risk of skin cancer.
Did you know that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide? Here are a few statistics to illustrate this point:
- One in five Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70.
- At least two people die of skin cancer in the US every hour.
- Having five or more sunburns doubles your risk of developing melanoma.
- When detected early, the five-year survival rate for melanoma is 99 percent.
When you were a child, your parent was the one reminding you to put on sunscreen before you went out to play. Today, it’s up to you to keep your skin protected and decrease your risk of skin cancer.
2. Slow down the aging process.
You might think that wrinkles and leathery skin are a natural byproduct of time, but the truth is that the main cause of wrinkles, fine lines and pigmentation is exposure to sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) light — also called photoaging.
Photoaging is the main cause of 90 percent of visible changes to the skin. Light exposure, including visible (HEV) and infrared light, causes premature aging of the skin.
The main culprit behind sunburn are UVA rays, which penetrate deep into the dermis (middle layer of the skin) and damage collagen fibers. This damage leads to increased production of abnormal elastin, which results in the production of enzymes called metalloproteinases. These enzymes rebuild damaged collagen and frequently malfunction and degrade the collagen, causing skin to rebuild abnormally.
Repeated exposure to UVA rays and the resulting abnormal rebuilding of the skin and loss of collagen causes the formation of wrinkles and leads to leathery skin.
The bottom line is, wear sunscreen and you won’t have to spend so much time repairing damaged skin.
3. Keep your skin tone even.
Sure, you can use creams, serums and peels to even out your skin tone. But your first line of defense should be sunscreen.
One study found that wearing sunscreen helped significantly improve skin texture, clarity and mottled and discrete pigmentation. In addition, using sunscreen on a daily basis may improve signs of existing photodamage.
4. Protect yourself from increasing UV radiation caused by a depleting ozone layer.
If you think back to science class in grade school, you’ll remember learning about the ozone layer. The ozone layer acts as the Earth’s sunscreen by providing an invisible barrier to protect all life forms from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Some estimates say that a 10% global loss of ozone may lead to a 26% increase in the incidence of skin cancers among fair skinned people.
To protect your skin, wear sunscreen. Or better yet, avoid direct sun exposure on days with high UV radiation. You won’t need to spend so much on skin care products and expensive treatments to reverse damage caused by the sun. And your skin will thank you.