Our skin can be affected by lots of different factors. Greasy, high-salt food is well known to make our skin look worse. Alcohol, which is a diuretic, dehydrates us and prevents us from sleeping properly, leading to dry skin and unsightly bags under our eyes (you'll want to rehydrate with our best water bottle for the gym).
Cold weather, stress, anxiety... all these factors can lead to unhealthy-looking skin. But the biggest contributor to skin prematurely aging is too much exposure to sunlight.
Photodamage, the damage the sun does to our skin, includes changes such as fine wrinkles, freckles, pigmentation change and changes in the skin's outer texture. It's well-known sun damage can lead to melanoma and other forms of skin cancer, but the smaller impacts of sun damage can lead to your skin becoming darker, rougher and more wrinkled.
Generally speaking, the more sun you're exposed to without protection, the older you'll look.
You can promote healthier skin through adjusting your diet, such as using the best vitamins for women over 50, and the best fish oil supplements, as the beneficial fatty acids have links to younger-looking skin.
However, a study by researchers from the American Society for Dermatologic Surgery (opens in new tab) looked at whether daily use of facial sunscreen, over the course of one year, can reverse the signs of photoaging.
To do this, the study had 32 subjects apply a broad spectrum photostable sunscreen, at SPF 30, for 52 weeks, every day. At the end of the trial, the results were overwhelmingly positive, with all photoaging parameters improving significantly from baseline as early as week 12.
By week 52, the study found skin texture, clarity, and mottled and discrete pigmentation were the most improved parameters, with a massive 40% to 52% improvement from baseline. Every single one of subjects showed improvement in skin clarity and texture.
According to this study, it's actually possible to not just prevent the damage of photoaging, but reverse it, by just wearing sunscreen every day. This is a game-changing discovery, and something everyone should be doing.
There are plenty of daily moisturisers that now include SPF protection, which lots of people are using to gain this addition protection benefit in addition to its use as a regular moisturiser. However, A study from the journal PLOS One (opens in new tab) found moisturiser users tended to miss sensitive parts of their skin, such as around the eyes and other areas of the face, while regular sunscreen users gained more overall protection.
There you have it: if you're concerned about the onset of wrinkles, blotches, rougher skin and other visible signs of aging, wearing SPF 30 sunscreen every day could be the anti-aging solution you've been looking for.
Matt Evans is an experienced health and fitness journalist and News Editor at Fit&Well, covering all things exercise and nutrition on the Fit&Well website. Matt originally discovered exercise through martial arts: he holds a black belt in Karate and remains a keen runner, gym-goer, and infrequent yogi. His top fitness tip? Stretch.
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