Sun, skin & sunscreen

Sun-kissed in Maldives!

First of all, HAPPY NEW DECADE y’all! I know, I know. I’ve been slacking in the social media department lately, but I’m hoping to blog at least once a month this year #newyearresolutions lol!

Since I hit the big 3-0 a few years ago, I’ve been focusing on looking after my skin and I don’t just mean that get-my-makeup-off-before-bed kinda thing ok! I’m now a grown ass adult (hehe) and have developed (after many trials and tests of products) a step-by-step routine that targets repairing my acne-prone skin and well, hydration. But I’ll save that topic for another day. On today’s blog, I am focusing on one skincare step that is super important in my routine – SUNSCREEN.

A lot of us don’t exactly enjoy putting on sunscreen, and I totally get it! It can be messy, sticky, greasy…basically just not the most pleasurable skincare product to apply on your face. It’s one other step in getting ready in the morning, and you probably have a million other important things to do before you make a dash for the door, so applying sunscreen is probably not your most favourite thing to do.

To be honest, I never took much care about sunscreen and the whole idea of anti-ageing until I hit my late 20s (also when I first noticed little fine lines on my face, damn it!). In fact, my Mum used to nag me to protect my skin, even bought me really good quality sunscreens and tried her best to get me to use it everyday. But let’s face it, who listens to Mum when we are younger right?

And now, here I am, raving about bloody sunscreen because Mum was so damn right! A lot of people don’t realise it, but the weather actually has a tremendous impact on our skin, and of course, our beauty regime! I live in Malaysia where the weather is hot and humid, so imagine exposing my skin to a killer combo of blazing sun exposure, climbing temperatures and humidity – all of which can wreak havoc on one’s skin. I’m talking excess oil, dark spots, sun damage (yikes!)

And then there’s the other skin aggressor: Blue light (also called HEV). We live in a digital age and the hours we spend scrolling mindlessly on Instagram, working overtime on our laptops and #netflixandchill do not help with our skin health. Our electronic devices emit blue light that penetrate more deeply into our skin than UV rays, which can cause wrinkles, decrease in skin laxity, and hyperpigmentation.

With all the research I did (along with some kiasu reasonings), I thought to myself, perhaps it wouldn’t hurt to shake up my beauty routine a little and invest in a good quality sunscreen so that I can avoid dealing with them when I get older and the sun damage effects start kicking in! #preventionisbetterthancure, right?

Fast forward a few years later, sunscreen is my now skincare staple and I even insist that my husband apply sunscreen on the daily. The risk of exposure to UVA and UVB radiation is elevated due to the thinning of the ozone layer (thanks to global warming), and we also know a great deal more about the effects of the sun now than we did during our parent’s times. Of course some of you may think, “But our parents look fine without any skincare”. To which I would agree to disagree because let’s face it, back during our parent’s time, they ate better wholesome food, moved their limbs more and didn’t spend hours in front of a screen at the office.

The nature of my work causes me to be exposed to a lot of sun,
air-conditioning and heat 😦

Honestly, there is no special serum ever made that can do the trick to keep ageing and sun damage at bay entirely. What we can do is to prevent ageing from happening sooner by making a commitment to sunscreen. I read this somewhere – “Why go on the skincare offensive when you can already be on the defensive” and it made total sense to me. I’ve done my research and compiled a few reasons why sunscreen is one of the most important anti-aging trick today:

  1. Protection Against UV Radiation:

Did you know that sunscreen prevents skin ageing through the protection of UV rays? Yup! When those nasty UVA and UVB rays hit our skin cells, they burn through the integrity and biological makeup of our skin’s cell structure and damaging the elastic fibres that keep skin firm. What follows is a skin damage combo of wrinkling, spotting, and loss of elasticity. In other words, using sunscreen can help protect against the harmful effects of premature skin ageing. Oh, and even if you spend tons of money on expensive skincare creams and serums but fail to use sunscreen to protect your precious skin, you are totally wasting your money and effort because creams and serums without SPF do not have the ability to block out UVA and UVB. So do yourself a favour and include sunscreen in your routine, ok?

TIP: Not all sunscreens are created for the same purpose. Chemical sunscreens only protect against UVA rays. On the other hand, physical sunscreens protect against UVA, UVB and blue light, providing an entire protective layering. If possible, always choose the physical sunscreen option for total coverage. (I’ll cover this topic on another blog post soon)

Prevents Premature Aging

Let’s admit that everyone wants to have younger, healthier looking skin. If you are still in an age range where you have not started developing fine lines and wrinkles (lucky you), don’t take things for granted! Start using sunscreen because it is guaranteed to ward off ageing signs in the years to come. Even if you feel like it’s too late, it’s never too late to start fighting off future skin damage. Studies have confirmed that people below the age of 55 who use sunscreen have a much less chance of developing classic ageing signs than non-sunscreen users. Enough said.

Our Natural Ozone Protection is Depleting:

Now that we know how harmful UV rays can be, it’s important to know the planet’s natural protective layering, the ozone layer, is also withering away. This invisible shield of gases in our atmosphere helps filter out the sun rays. As we release more toxins, chemicals, and CO2 emissions into the air, we are wearing away at the ozone layer and its buffering capabilities. Due to this ozone layer depletion, UV rays are stronger than ever before, which means it’s important that we take the time to lather sunscreen on our skin and lower the risk of skin damage or even worse, Melanoma.

  1. Lowers Risk of Skin Cancer:

Speaking of Melanoma, this deadly form of cancer can be diagnosed in individuals as young as in their 20s from over-exposure to UV rays. Let’s face it, we absolutely LOVE living the life, sunbathing and sipping a cold beer by the beach right? But we forget that we are exposing our skin to the harshest sun rays if we do not apply sunscreen all over our face and body while enjoying the outdoors. Beach bums and outdoorsy people take note: Please don’t take applying sunscreen lightly. If not for the purpose of ageing or fine lines, consider sunscreen as a cancer protective agent, and a life-saving one too.

  1. Sunburn Prevention:

Sunscreen even on a cloudy day, you ask?

Let me drop some science on ya. Clouds filter out sunlight but not UV rays, the bad ones that cause ageing and cancer. The Skin Cancer Foundation claims that clouds block as little as 20% of UV rays — which means that we’re still being exposed to 80% of the sun’s harsh effects on a cloudy day. Some research even claim that we’re actually at more risk on cloudy days, since UV rays can bounce off of clouds. The bottom line is, yes, we shouldn’t risk it and should still wear sunscreen on cloudy days.

Secondly, did you know that we weaken our skin each time we burn it under the sun? We are used to skin peeling after a day out in the sun but when that “red lobster” effect happens, the skin beneath it gets weaker. The weaker our skin, the more susceptible it is to bruising, cellulite, and other kinds of skin deformities that give away our age. If you want your skin to maintain its integrity and strength throughout the years, keep it away from getting sunburns. Chemical-free sunscreen is an easy way to make that happen – plus, it prevents the pain that comes with sunburn!

In conclusion, our skin is an incredible organ, full of collagen, keratin, and elastin that work together to give it a natural strength and glow. When these essential nutrients are not able to work its magic in our body, our skin loses its ability to stretch, tighten, and radiate on its own. More so when it loses its natural hydrating abilities, it starts to dry out and whither, creating the appearance of wrinkles.

I bet once you understand why I swear by wearing sunscreen, you’ll be reaching for the bottle and calling sunscreen your new BFF too. Remember, proper skin protection is the best thing we can do for our skin health today — and slow down the effects of ageing tomorrow.

Be sun smart, my beautiful friends!


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