Skin sins: things you need to know about sun damage

Krista Garcia

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Sunscreen might be the best anti-aging product you can use. Here's why

SUN WORSHIPPER. Before enjoying the summer heat, make sure you're protected.

MANILA, Philippines — Wrinkles, age spots, rough skin.

Over the years, your skin shows natural signs of wear and tear due to aging and sun exposure.

Once they’ve appeared, you can’t do anything about them – unless you spend money for cosmetic procedures or miracle creams.

But what most people don’t know is that there’s a simpler, more effective way to delay aging’s effects on the skin: sunscreen.

“Using sunscreen should be a daily habit and not just a ‘beach’ thing,” says Dr. Vicki Belo, who came out with her own brand of sunscreen suited for everyday use.

How does sunscreen slow down skin aging, and what kind of sun protection do you really need?

Here, we list down the essentials.


Stay away from the (UV)ABCs

It’s not really the sun’s warm, bright glow that’s bad for your skin. It’s those invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays that actually cause damage. There are two kinds you need to worry about: 

  • UVA: These are the long-way UV rays that are known to cause premature skin aging and suppress the immune system.
  • UVB: These are short-wave UV rays that burn skin, leading to itchy, red spots and sunburn.

Both UVA and UVB rays can lead to premature skin aging. In the long run, it may also lead to the big C – skin cancer, which affects more than 2 million people every year.

Using sunscreen religiously will amp up your skin’s defense level against these risks.


Don’t just go for ‘higher’

Aside from the ABCs, you also need to know the numbers behind sun protection factor, or SPF.

How much SPF do you need? And how often should you re-apply sunscreen?

This short video breaks it down:


Another thing to note is that it’s best to stick to a maximum of SPF 40 for the face, since it’s the most sensitive part of our skin. Just make sure to wear other modes of protection (like a hat or shades) and reapply as often as necessary.

Make sure it has PA too

Getting SPF isn’t enough for avoiding sun damage. You also need PA.

SPF protects our skin from UVB (burning) rays. PA indicates the ‘protection grade’ of your sunscreen. It keeps UVA (aging) rays at bay.

Locally, you should get sunscreen that offers ‘PA+++’ as this will offer the highest level of protection.

Staying out of the sun isn’t enough

Did you know that you could also get exposed to UV rays indoors?

Dr. Belo says, “Many are unaware that there are other hidden causes of UV radiation damage. For example, sitting in front of a computer all day, and the heat from cooking, can cause melasma. Bright lights, even the ones use for reading, is enough to harm the skin.” 

At the end of the day, sunscreen is still the best ‘anti-aging’ product out there. It saves not just your skin, but also your life. Make sure to put it on everyday. The earlier you start, the better. —

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