How SPF Can Keep Skin Looking Young

All good children of the ‘90s know that the most important step of any skincare regimen is to wear Sunscreen. But here's something you may not know: SPF doesn't just help thwart skin cancers like melanoma; it’s also key for preventing photoaging, the visible signs of aging caused by the sun’s UV rays. In fact, a recent study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found conclusive evidence that daily sunscreen application significantly slows the skin’s aging process by as much as 24 percent. To fully reap sunscreen’s wrinkle-fighting benefits, here’s the lowdown:

Broad-Spectrum or Bust

Read your sunscreen labels carefully, because only formulas that specifically say broad-spectrum have the ability to protect skin from both UVB rays (which cause visible redness and burns) and UVA rays (which cause premature aging and discoloration of the skin). Even if you’re indoors most of the day, you should be using a broad-spectrum product because UVA rays, unlike UVB rays, can pass through window glass. Caudalie founder Bertrand Thomas recommends starting daily SPF application as early as possible, at “15, 10, even five years old.”

Daily—Not Just Occasionally

Repeat after us: SPF isn’t just for the beach. To stave off early signs of wrinkles and age spots, you need to incorporate sunscreen into your daily routine. Anything with SPF 15 will block 93 percent of the sun’s rays, like Caudalie’s Vinexpert Radiant Day Cream SPF 15, which has the added bonus of being rich in antioxidants that delay the onset of wrinkles and fade brown spots. For even greater skin TLC, use an SPF 30, which will protect from 97 percent of UV rays. A favorite premakeup formula is Supergoop’s City Sunscreen Serum, which combines broad-spectrum SPF 30 protection with antiaging and moisturizing agents like vitamins E and B5. And don't forget the delicate eye area: Use an SPF eye cream like Supergoop’s Advanced SPF 37 Anti-Aging Eye Cream.

SPF All Over

While your face will most likely be your first area of concern when it comes to aging, don’t forget to protect other areas like your hands, chest, and limbs, which can show wrinkles and discolorations just as easily. Think about it this way: You apply body moisturizer daily—why not use one with SPF? We’re loving Supergoop’s Endless Summer SPF 30+ Everyday SPF Lotion, which delivers weightless oil-free hydration, plus a healthy dose sunscreen and antioxidant vitamin E.

Reapply, Reapply, Reapply

When it comes to SPF’s anti-aging properties, there’s one last thing to keep in mind: Repetition and reapplication are a must. Always reapply your products after sweating or swimming and when you’re at the beach, reapply every hour or two to ensure continual protection. Even during your normal routine, it’s good to reapply your SPF at least once during the day. Maybe it’s easier to think of SPF application like brushing your teeth—it’s a twice-daily step in your routine that has both long-term health (and, yes, vanity!) benefits.

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