Do We Really Get The Most Sun Damage In Childhood?

by Gio
most sun damage in childhood

Truth or false: 80% of sun damage happens by the age of 18?

Common wisdom wants you to believe it’s true. By then, why is your skin so elastic at 18? I mean, if that were you true, wouldn’t your skin be a withered old prune by then?

Instead, the first fine lines don’t usually show up until your late ’20s, early ’30s. Unless you DID spend your entire childhood outdoors.

I grew up in sunny Italy and let me tell you, those warm summers didn’t do my skin any favours. In my mid ’20s, I already had to deal with crow’s feet. Ugh. Why didn’t anyone tell me to wear sunscreen back then?

But even then, the numbers don’t add up. Think about 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? Let me know in the comments below.

Take The Guesswork Out Of Skincare Shopping

Screenshot from 2017 04 30 11 51 35

Get access to the “Pro Skincare Library” for exclusive skincare routine “cheat sheets” and tricks to help you navigate the beauty aisles jungle like a pro and immediately know what to pick off the shelves to achieve the gorgeous skin of your dreams - even when you’re drowning in an endless sea of skincare products.

Powered by ConvertKit



Trisha August 26, 2014 - 5:18 pm

Yeah, that statistic didn’t make sense.

Though, I definitely did got a lot of sun when I was a kid, sans-SPF. In fact, I have permanent dark spots on my legs from when I was a kid, and a dermatologist said it was from the sun. Weird. I never got them as an adult.

Gio August 27, 2014 - 8:41 pm

Trisha, sorry about your dark spots. The sun can play some nasty tricks. I got a lot of sun damage too when I was a kid. Who knew back then how important sunscreen was? *sighs*

audrey March 8, 2017 - 4:15 am

My father spent a lot of time in the European countries when i was little, so he was very adamant on me wearing sunscreens (we went to the beach every weekend because it’s summer all year here in Indonesia). As a little kid I didn’t understand the benefits of sunscreens and I loathed my Dad for always calling me back every hour to reapply sunscreens. It was so annoying and disturbed our fun time. But now that I’m in my mid 20s, I thanked my Dad for forcing me to use sunscreen on those beachy days. I enjoy skin that’s almost free of sun spots (I sadly have some on my neck, but almost 0 on my face) when my firends are all doing laser treatment at dermatologist clinics to banish their sun spots they accumulated during childhood. If any of you have little kiddos, force them to wear sunscreen as often as you can slather them (I know I was that kid who ran away everytime I know my Dad is going to slather me with white thick goopy cream that smells bad).

Gio March 9, 2017 - 7:03 pm

Audrey, smart daddy! I wish mine had done the same. 🙂

audrey March 10, 2017 - 4:23 am

I’m 100% Chinese-looking but has the skin of a Scandinavian (porcelain borderline transparent, cool-toned, redness-prone & never tan, always burned). He was smart to force me to wear sunscreen. I hope parents nowadays are doing even better 🙂

Gio March 12, 2017 - 8:29 pm

He was indeed. I hope parents know better these days too. 🙂

Janessa September 3, 2014 - 12:31 am

Taking care of your skin from this point on, whenever ‘this’ may be, gives your skin time to repair itself as well! To a certain extent, of course, but taking care of it can make the most of what you’ve got.

I sincerely thank you for teaching me about protecting my skin from UV rays. I shudder to fathom what I’d be like if it weren’t for you.

Gio September 3, 2014 - 7:40 pm

Janessa, that is so true! Thank you for reminding us.

My pleasure! And you made my day. I’m glad someone is taking me seriously about sunscreen, because when I tell my friends how important it is, they just think I’m paranoid. *rolls eyes*

audrey March 8, 2017 - 4:22 am

My friends at Junior High School also mock me for wearing physical sunscreen during our Scouts training. But I keep on wearing them because I’m sick of gettingt sunburn every time, and even my scalp skin would flake off like crazy if i don’t use a wide brimmed hat (luckily Scouts girls are all forced to wear the same wide brimmed hat by the school), so i dopn’t get mocked even more. They mocked me because the sunscreens would turn to this milky white liquids that’s dripping off my face. It probably looks very disgusting but if they didn’t mock me I’d probably wear sunscreen more often.

Now in my mid 20s, my friends actually ask for sunscreen recommendations and how to use them properly. I am so glad my closest friends are now an avid user of sunscreen! Even the guys 🙂 Makes me happy to know I won’t lose anyone to skin cancer!

Gio March 9, 2017 - 7:05 pm

Audrey, hehe glad they’re all converted now. I bet they regret not following your example sooner.

Serine January 7, 2015 - 8:36 am

What will happen if i didn’t remove my sunscreen properly? (my cleanser can’t remove it) Will i get pimple?

Gio January 7, 2015 - 12:32 pm

Serine, yes, you could get pimples. And your nighttime skincare products may not be able to penetrate the skin properly, so they won’t be as effective.

Serine January 7, 2015 - 10:02 pm

Can i use toner to remove it after i clean my face?

Gio January 8, 2015 - 6:03 pm

Serine, I doubt toner is strong enough to remove sunscreen. I’d try a cleansing oil.

audrey March 8, 2017 - 4:24 am

what about micellar water? is it strong enough to remove physical sunscreens? since it’s oil-based and water-based at the same time (mine contains castor oil and water)

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.