Spray tans, tinted lotions, bronzers, you name it,  people are constantly searching for ways to achieve a natural-looking, year-round tan. And what better way to have a natural glow than from the sun itself? 
But what happens when the skin is overexposed, and the sun's rays become harmful? This can lead to what is known as photoaging and can have long-term health effects. 

Photoaging 101

First things first, what is photo-aging? Photoaging is when the skin ages prematurely due to over exposure to the sun's UV rays. Whether we like it or not, all skin ages and this is entirely natural. But when skin ages as a result of other external factors, this is known as photoaging. 
The symptoms of photoaging include:

-Dark spots
-Drooping skin
-Broken blood vessels
-Thinning skin
-Leathery textured skin
-Mottled pigmentation
-Easily bruised

Why does photoaging occur? The skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutis. The dermis is the middle layer and contains collagen, elastin, and other fibers that help keep your skin youthful and smooth. The sun's UVA rays penetrate into the dermis and damage the collagen fibers, which results in an increased production of abnormal elastin. This leads to the production of metalloproteinases enzymes, which then begin to malfunction and degrade collagen, resulting in incorrectly rebuilt skin. 

And what happens when this entire process happens over and over again? The effects of photoaging begin to surface in the form of sun spots and premature wrinkles. [i]

Say "no" to photoaging!

The best way to prevent photoaging - hands down - is to use sunscreen. Find one that has an SPF of 15 or higher and apply it every day to the areas that are most exposed to the sun (face, neck, chest, and shoulders). Not only will daily application help to prevent photoaging, but it can also help reduce current signs, as well as the risk of developing skin cancer.  

In addition to sunscreen, you can also use antioxidants to help keep your skin protected and healthy. Vitamin C, for example, boosts collagen production, which helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Incorporating a vitamin C serum into your skincare routine can help in avoiding sagging skin and create a more tightening effect. Simply add a few drops of vitamin C serum into your daily sunscreen application and you're good to go! [ii]

For skin already affected by photoaging, products with Vitamin E have been shown to accelerate restoration of skin cells. Found in serums and moisturizers, Vitamin E helps to strengthen skin and enhance its natural elasticity, helping rejuvenate skin to its youthful look. Combine Vitamin C and Vitamin E and you'll turn back time on your aging skin.

"Here comes the sun and I say it's alright!"

Now that you know the essential information regarding photoaging, you will be better equipped to enjoy the sunshine with the knowledge that your skin is protected. Use your sunscreen when you are out and reap the many benefits that proper skincare boasts for both your short-term and long-term health.