A wise Korean woman once said that the best anti-wrinkle cream is a sunscreen. In Korea, SPF goes beyond a mere precaution against skin cancer and reaches near legendary-status as a gatekeeper to glowing, youthful skin. In fact, most Koreans don’t leave the house without sunscreen and are known to wear sunglasses and sun hats even on cloudy days. Sounds extreme? Well, not really, because there is finally proof for something the Koreans have known all along: SPF, when used on a regular basis, prevents wrinkles and slows down the painful process of skin aging.
A recent study published in the American College of Physicians’ Annals of Internal Medicine compared skin aging in 900 men and women from Australia over a four-year period from 1992 to 1996. They found that daily sunscreen use significantly slows skin aging, even in middle-aged men and women. The participants who used sunscreen daily were less likely to have wrinkles and dark spots after 4.5 years than participants who did not regularly use sunscreen. Now, how's that for application motivation?
Before you get too excited, though, keep in mind that the study was conducted with DAILY sunscreen usage across all participants, and for good reason, too. Without consistent sunscreen usage, your skin will not be given a chance to repair itself and will continue being vulnerable to sun damage. If you do intend on keeping up with the sunscreen anti-wrinkle treatment, I highly recommend you to stay committed and use it religiously on a daily basis, otherwise it won’t work!
At this point you may be wondering, ‘why go through all this hassle?’ What’s so bad about the sun, anyway? What about all the benefits of vitamin D? While there’s nothing wrong with getting a good dose of vitamin D, the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays is responsible for more than 90 percent (!!) of the visible signs of aging, including wrinkles, rough patches, sagging, and skin discoloration. This is why Korean women shun the sun like vampires; the sun does indeed suck the youth and collagen from your skin, leaving discoloured skin and horrendous dark spots in its place.
Using sunscreen daily is a good habit for everyone hoping to prolong the inevitable process of aging, even if you’re a young gal like me (I’m turning 21 in a few days). There is no reason to skip this post just because it’s ‘too soon’ to worry about adult problems like wrinkles and anti-ageing. The effects of sun damage like wrinkles and sun spots often don’t appear until our 30s and 40s, and it accumulates with every passing day. Waking up to a sun damaged face is not a fate I want at 40 years old, so I’m continuing my sunscreen ritual every morning. Koreans are not only good at protecting their skin from the sun, they also make amazing sunscreens. One of my favourite is the Kicho Ultra Moisturizing Sun Cream, featured by New York Times as one of the "Six Sunscreens That Actually Improve Your Skin". Now available at Nudie Glow!
Despite all this scary-talk about sun damage, we’re not telling you to avoid sunlight like the plague and spend the rest of your days as a pale (but wrinkle-free) vampire. Go ahead and embrace the summer sun, but give your skin adequate protection by generously applying a powerful sunscreen with high SPF and PA ratings before heading out. Your future self will thank you for it.
Tip: An easy way to get your SPF on is to sneak it into your makeup products. Most BB creams come equipped with SPF, but you want to make sure you’re getting at least SPF 30 for good results, and don’t forget to use it every. single. day!