Sunscreen gets a bad wrap for being goopy, pore-clogging, and smelly. But thanks to modern innovations, sunscreen is more comfortable to wear than ever. There is not a better time to introduce sunscreen into your everyday routine and reap the many health and skin benefits. Here are 5 reasons you should wear sunscreen everyday.
Wearing sunscreen every day is imperative if you are concerned about skin aging. It is no secret that sitting out in the sun and tanning is damaging to the skin. This is why skin cancer rates are so high currently because in past generations it was a popular practice to sit out in the sun with no protection and tan. This is incredibly damaging to the skin and is the reason why so many older adults appear extremely freckly. But even if you are not sitting out in the sun tanning every day, sunscreen is still important. Incidental sun exposure adds up, whether it be in the car, through household windows, or walking outside briefly, this exposure contributes to skin aging. In fact, according to the Canadian Dermatology Association, “up to 90 per cent of aging is due to the sun’s harsh effects on skin.” Sun exposure accounts for an enormous proportion of causes of skin aging, so even incidental sun exposure throughout the day could have a major effect on the appearance of skin. The best way to avoid this is to slather on the sunscreen in the morning and do your best to reapply throughout the day.
2. Skin cancer
The highest risk of sun exposure is very commonly known to be skin cancer. Sun exposure that leads to a sunburn is a visible sign that the skin has been damaged. The freckles and tan that follow after the sunburn heals is a clear indication that the skin has been deeply compromised and UVA damaged, setting the stage for skin cancer. The best way to prevent the formation of skin cancer is to slather on the sunscreen everyday to avoid as much sun exposure as possible. In fact, skin cancer is almost always a result of too much UVA exposure, the sun rays that DON’T burn. So even if you feel your skin is fine and is not burning, incidental sun exposure is enough to set the stage for skin cancer. I do not want to fear monger, incidental exposure is unlikely to single-handedly cause skin cancer, but creating the habit of wearing sunscreen everyday dramatically reduces that likelihood and will ensure that sun protection measures are pursued whether it be a work-day or lake-day.
3. Acne control
Despite the common belief that getting sun exposure is beneficial to acne, quite the opposite is true. Sun exposure drives inflammation and causes excess sebum production, the perfect ingredients for an acne flare. According to Eudelo Dermatology, the reason acne might seem to dissipate after sun exposure is because “Our skin defends itself against the harmful effects of the sun by thickening its outer layer, the stratum corneum. A thicker stratum corneum however means more pore-clogging and thus (with a little delay…) an acne flare-up. Remember – every single spot and pimple starts with a clogged pore so while most acne sufferers initially get better in the sun, medium to long-term, the acne gets worse after sun exposure.” Sun exposure is no friend to acne. Do not let the illusion that acne gets better after sun exposure cause you to spend more time in the sun unprotected. Acne will only get worse in the long-term, and due to the sun exposure, the acne will likely leave dark marks that take months to heal. Instead, wear a non-comedogenic sunscreen every day to ensure that the harmful effects of the sun are not contributing to acne flares.
4. Skin-tone evening
If you’ve ever had acne that heals with a dark mark in place of where the pimple was, this likely means that your skin was exposed to the sun and was not adequately protected. While some acne will heal with a dark mark no matter what preventative measures you take, wearing sunscreen will allow the dark mark to fade in weeks, rather than months. This is due to the excess melanin production caused by an acne flare. As your skin heals, melanin is produced in place of the pimple causing a dark mark. As your skin continues to be exposed to the sun, even incidentally, melanin is continuing to be produced as a defense to sun exposure causing the mark to stick around. By wearing sunscreen everyday, you take the burden off of the skin to continually produce melanin and will allow the dark mark to fade much faster. This also applies to freckles. Wearing sunscreen everyday will allow freckles to fade by curbing melanin production. Overall, wearing sunscreen everyday works to protect your skin from the excess melanin production caused by acne. This will even out the overall skin-tone on your face or body.
5. Overall health
Finally, wearing sunscreen everyday is beneficial to your overall health. First of all a sunburn has several adverse side effects and can lead to a fever and blisters. This is obviously not good for your bodily health and could take several weeks to recover from. Furthermore, a study from Standford indicates that “People who develop abnormally frequent cases of a skin cancer known as basal cell carcinoma appear to be at significantly increased risk for developing of other cancers, including blood, breast, colon and prostate cancers, according to a preliminary study by researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine.” It is unlikely that you will develop several skin cancers from incidental sun exposure or even tanning occasionally, but it is still possible. With something so easy as putting a layer of sunscreen on your face and body before leaving the house in the morning being able to prevent skin cancer and other health risks, there really is no reason not do it. Not to mention the many other benefits like less skin aging and less acne. You likely already use a moisturizer and body lotion everyday. Consider swapping those out for a sunscreen. It can contribute greatly to your overall health down the road. Overall, wearing sunscreen everyday greatly decreases the risk of getting skin cancer and other health ailments, along with many other wonderful benefits for the skin.