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How Your Sunscreen Habits in Your 20s Can Affect How You Look in Your 50s

By Belo Medical Group on September 3, 2020

When you’re in your teens and early 20s, it’s like your skin is invincible. Sure, your occasional beach trips with Mom and Dad would make you three or four shades darker, but you’d think nothing of it. Riding in the back of a pickup truck with no hat on a four-hour road trip? No biggie. Commuting to college in the April heat? No sweat. But according to Dr. Vicki Belo, the aging process begins as early as 25 years old. The habits you begin now will greatly inform the state of your skin in the decades to come. And the most important habit, by far, is sunscreen. Now, why is it important to begin sun protection habits in your 20s?

1. To protect your collagen reserves.

UVA rays are able to penetrate deep into your skin and can damage precious collagen fibers. The damage that UVA rays inflict can cause your skin to compensate by producing “abnormal elastin,” according to the US Skin Cancer Foundation. This results in wrinkled, leathery-looking skin. But I’m only going out to take out the trash or pick up a package, you might think. Even brief amounts of sun exposure can do damage! Says Joshua Zeichner of Mount Sinai Hospital in the United States, “Even grabbing coffee or lunch or being outside for five minutes a day can break down enough collagen in the skin to cause wrinkles in a few years.” Remember, Dr. Belo says that you lose 20% of your collagen by age 20, so you should do everything you can to slow down this process!

2. To keep your skin hydrated.

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Ever noticed the skin of some pro surfers? They tend to be quite dry and flaky, which is ironic since they spend most of their time in the water. You see, skin that is constantly exposed to the sun without protection can lose moisture and much-needed essential oils, according to Harvard Health. This will result in drier-looking, flaky skin. You don’t want to look 48 when you’re only 28, so be generous with that SPF!

3. To protect your skin from UV rays inside your home.

If you’ve ever wondered whether you need to wear sunscreen at home, the answer is yes! “The source of UV rays is not only from the sun, but also from computer screens and the heat or radiation from cooking or baking. These stimulate your melanocytes,” Dr. Belo explains. (BTW, melanocytes are the cells in your skin that produce melanin.) Smartphones, laptops, and TVs are going to be part of our daily lives forever. And you definitely won’t ever stop cooking or baking. The only option is to protect yourself from their long-term harmful effects on your skin.

Now that we’ve established sunscreen is a must, the next step is to pick one for your daily routine. Dr. Belo recommends using a sunscreen with PA++++ protection, which stands for “Extremely High UVA protection. But you want one that’s broad spectrum and protect against both UVA and UVB rays, so the Belo SunExpert Face Cream SPF40 PA++++ is your best bet. You can also check out The Belo Shop’s Sun Protection line for options like gels, sunscreen/primers, and more.

Remember, nothing looks better in your 50s than sunscreen in your 20s. If you’re gonna do only one thing to take care of your skin, sunscreen is a non-negotiable. So double up, be sure to wear it indoors, and enjoy young-looking skin for decades to come.

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