Updated 05/01/23. While our genes certainly play a significant role in how we age, our habits still have a large impact on the appearance of our skin. A study during the Twins Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio offers strong evidence to support the claim that factors like smoking, body mass, and, of course, sun exposure are all known factors that govern facial aging. In other words, you have more control over how your skin ages than you think! At the end of the day, you may have a genetic predisposition to wrinkles, fine lines, or dark spots, but how you care for your skin determines how many you will have.
The best way to make your skin look younger with fewer visible lines and wrinkles? Look no further than the best, biologically-active miracle product on the planet—sunscreen. Wearing sunscreen is vital to protecting your skin because, after all, you don’t have to get a sunburn to do damage to your skin. Harmful UVA and UVB rays can cause sun spots, fine lines, discoloration, wrinkles, and even cancer. However, the one thing you need to do really, really well is to wear sunscreen correctly.
Read on to learn when you should be wearing sunscreen, how much you should be applying, and more expert advice for maintaining radiant, youthful skin.
People Who Wear Sunscreen Every Day Show 24% Fewer Signs of Aging Than Occasional Wearers
UV rays from the sun are the #1 reason for skin aging. It’s not genetics, it’s not smoking, and, believe it or not, it’s not even age. The sun’s rays that give off daylight are the skin’s worst enemy. A study out of Australia even showed that “the skin of daily sunscreen users aged a full 24% less than that of occasional wearers.” That’s pretty incredible. However, it will never work its magic abilities if you’re not wearing it daily (and correctly). Make it an every-morning habit, just like brushing your teeth.
When Apply Sunscreen, Layering Generously is Key to Keeping Skin Looking Younger
One of the biggest mistakes I see people make is not applying enough sunscreen to fully protect the skin. The reason for this is that so many sunscreens are heavy in texture and they don’t always feel good on the skin when worn on an everyday basis alone or under makeup. Plus, since many sunscreen formulas can be problematic for breakout-prone skin, this can make someone apply it sparingly.
Since you’ll be wearing it every day of the year, you must search and search until you find a formula that feels nice on the skin without being too heavy. Also, get one that is compatible under makeup without pilling and balling up. I recommend Weightless Protection SPF 30, as it’s excellent under makeup and you guessed it – feels weightless! For outdoor activities, I like to use La Roche Posay Ultra Light Fluid SPF 60 because it’s water-resistant so it will hold up with sweating and swimming.
At the end of the day, none of this matters if you don’t know how to properly apply sunscreen to the face and neck.
And make sure to avoid these five skincare mistakes when applying your sunscreen!
Sunscreen Must be Reapplied, But Reapplication Times Will Vary
For weekdays when you’re mostly inside at home or work, an SPF-infused mineral powder can be dusted onto the skin directly over makeup or bare skin. The idea here is that it’s not feasible to stop what you’re doing in the middle of the day to re-wash your face and start your skin routine all over. Instead, I find powders make reapplying sunscreen really easy. I believe doing this once or twice during daylight hours is sufficient.
While there is no perfect way to reapply sunscreen, these are my four favorite reapplication methods.
For weekends when you’re spending time outdoors in the direct sunlight, you will want to be more frequent with reapplying sunscreen—especially if you’re swimming or sweating. I recommend every 90 minutes. You’ll also want to pay attention to the skin on your body and wear clothing that will cover up your skin. I find clothing so much easier to keep my skin out of the sun rather than having to mess around with sunscreen. Reapplication is a must not only for preventing sunburns but also to make your skin look younger.
Wear Makeup Every Day to Give Additional Sun Protection
I am a huge believer in wearing makeup every single day not necessarily for cosmetic purposes but for the benefits it gives for protecting your skin from the sun. I know everyone’s goal is to have the skin of their dreams so they don’t have to wear makeup, but makeup is an extension of your skincare products. Read why makeup is good for your skin.
Use a Serum With Vitamins C and E to Improve Your Sunscreen’s Protective Abilities
Duke University Medical Center researchers determined that using a lotion or serum with both vitamins C and E (like Vitamin C&E Treatment) under sunscreen actually provides four times the protection of sunscreen alone. And of course, vitamin C has many other benefits.
One final note— it’s never too late to start wearing sunscreen to make your skin look younger! I know people sometimes get discouraged when they find out how important it is when it comes to anti-aging and they haven’t been wearing it. But I didn’t start faithfully wearing sunscreen until I created my own at age 30. It was really hard for me to find a sunscreen with a texture I wanted to apply to my face every day, and Weightless Protection SPF 30 really changed that. The time to start is now!
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Her hands-on experience as an esthetician and trusted skin care expert has created a real-world solution — products that are formulated for nine different types of skin so your face will get exactly what it needs to look and feel its best. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”