Up until a couple of years ago, it was thought that 80% of sun damage occurred by the age of 18. Shocking, isn’t it? Makes you wonder why we should bother with sunscreen once we grow up, or why wrinkles and dark spots don’t appear sooner. Sure, sun damage takes its time to show up on the skin, but if you get that much so soon, surely none of us would have such elastic, smooth skin at 18.
Instead, it’s in your 30s that the first signs of aging start to appear. If, like me, you spent your childhood playing outside without ever wearing sunscreen (cos that was reserved for the beach only back then), those annoying fine wrinkles around your eyes or on your forehead may have appeared even sooner. I love hot Italian summers, but if you forsake the sunscreen, they don’t do your skin any favours.
But, when you think about it, the statistic above doesn’t really make much sense, does it? How can you get more sun damage in 18 years than you do in the rest of your life? You don’t. According to recent research, only 23% of damage has been done by the time you turn 18. At 40, you’ve accumulated 46% of damage. That’s another 23%. From your 40s to your 60s, you accumulate another 27%. That’s the exact amount that occurs between the ages of 60 and 78 too. The total is 100%.
And when you’re even older? The study doesn’t say. It was based on a 78 year life span. But it does show that in two decades, we accumulate an average of 25% of sun damage, which increases slightly as get older. Now, this makes a lot more sense, doesn’t it? It also means that you can never stop to use sunscreen, no matter how old you are. If the sun shines, slather it on, and then go out and enjoy yourself!
Do you wear sunscreen every day?
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