You’ve probably stumbled upon dozens of articles from days of summers past about how you should always wear sunscreen even when it’s not summer. But have you ever wondered exactly why you should? If you didn’t, though, you probably had a reason to heed experts’ advice since you go out all the time anyway. But now that everyone’s practically stuck indoors, are you keeping up the sunscreen routine?
We’re going to hazard a guess and say no. After all, why should you? Apart from being inside the house most of the time, you’re (hopefully) wearing a face mask. That should be enough to protect your skin from the harsh effects of the sun, right?
Well, not really. Even if we’re in the middle of a pandemic that forces us to wear a mask and stay inside most of the time, putting on sunscreen is still a crucial step in maintaining good skin health. Here’s why:
1. Sunscreen helps prevent premature skin aging.
Two things make your skin age faster than usual: genetics and the environment. And while you don’t have any control over the first one, you can control your exposure to different kinds of environments. Wearing sunscreen helps with this by creating a barrier between your skin and the harmful UV rays from the sun, which can break down collagen and elastin in your skin, resulting in premature wrinkles.
2. Sunscreen reduces the risks of hyperpigmentation.
Hyperpigmentation is the darkening of the skin in patches. It is due to the overproduction of melanin resulting from sun exposure. In simpler terms, hyperpigmentation means having an uneven skin tone. When UV light reaches the skin, the cells produce more melanin as a self-protective mechanism. The SPF or sun protection factor in your sunscreen blocks this UV light, preventing the overproduction of melanin that causes uneven skin tone.
3. Sunscreen protects your BOTOX treatment.
If you’ve had BOTOX injections anywhere in your body, exposing those parts to the sun, unprotected, can lessen the effects of the treatment. The harmful UV rays from the sun can penetrate the surface of the skin where the BOTOX neurotoxin is and speed up its metabolism, meaning the product breaks down faster and degrades its effects. With the barrier that sunscreen puts between your skin and the sun, the impact of your BOTOX can last longer.
4. Sunscreen helps prevent solar irritation.
Sun exposure can exacerbate certain conditions, such as rosacea and lupus. When sun-sensitive skin gets exposed to the UV rays from the sun, it can trigger symptoms such as rashes and a burning sensation on the skin. Sunscreens help prevent these symptoms from flaring up by protecting sun-sensitive skin from UV rays.
5. Sunscreen decreases the risks of developing skin cancer.
Perhaps the best reason to wear sunscreen: it protects your skin from UV radiation, the top factor that causes skin cancer. You might think a mere 10 minutes of going out and being exposed to the sun is nothing, but the exposure to UV radiation compounds over time. Consistently wearing sunscreen means you always have protection on your skin against this harmful radiation.
The sun can be the skin’s greatest nemesis for the reasons stated above. So, it’s better to have sunscreen on than risk any of the side effects of sun exposure.