Only time truly makes you age, but the sun is the number one culprit in making you look your age or even older. Doctors, researchers, and the public have long known that excessive exposure to the sun damage as your skin and contributes to the formation of wrinkles, lines, leathery skin, and other unattractive characteristics. While many people spend thousands of dollars every year on creams and lotions to counteract all these problems, they could have spent less money on a bottle of SPF 15 or more sunscreen and prevented them all from happening in the first place.
How The Sun Damages Skin and Makes You Age
Exposure to the sun affects your skin in multiple ways. Everyone knows that getting sunburns are not healthy. They have actually been shown to have an association to melanoma or skin cancer. However, while sunburns are an obvious way skin gets damaged, even tanning or getting some light on your skin on a regular basis can have the same kind of effects.
The sun dries out your skin. It causes the natural oils dry up and not be produced as quickly as before. Although no one wants an oily face, these natural oils are essential to keep your skin supple and elastic.
Sunlight also reduces the formation of collagen, which is the essential material necessary for looking young in any way. Collagen makes skin firmer, smoother, and less prone to sagging. It encourages elasticity and allows skin to spring back into shape after you move it or make an exaggerated expression.
Results of Sun Damage to Skin and Appearance of Age
Dry skin without the important natural oils is much more likely to develop creases and wrinkles and skin that is properly hydrated and nourished. When the sun steals the skin's moisture and natural moisturizing methods, you end up looking older faster.
The breakdown of collagen makes an even bigger difference. After all, this is the stuff in our skin that is responsible for its elasticity and firmness. Drooping eyes, sagging jowls, turkey neck, and hollered out cheeks are all signs of collagen depletion. These are things people pay a lot of money to have corrected surgically because they are desperately trying not to look old. Since the sun destroys collagen production, it makes more sense to prevent these problems so you do not age as quickly and do not have to worry about looking elderly before you are old enough to claim that term.
The stark difference can be noted especially on people who are only exposed to the sun on one side such as truck drivers. The left side of their face that always had some light coming into the window is considerably more lined, wrinkled, and older looking than the right side.
If you ask any doctor or researcher who knows if the sun makes you age, their answers will always be "Yes!" Exposure to the sun more than anything else like environmental pollutants, nutrition, or stress, will make your face age faster than time it will do so on its own.