DAMAGE BY THE DECADE
“There is some evidence to show that daily use of sunscreen reduces the appearance of aging, as opposed to intermittent use.”
If only sun damage were limited to that adorable initial sprinkling of freckles. Without adequate protection, however, it progresses over time to become a mottled mixture of sagging, hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, often before you’ve realized it’s happening. “There is some recently published evidence to show that, at least over the period of a year, daily use of sunscreen reduces the appearance of aging, as opposed to intermittent use,” says Dr. Jason Rivers, founder of Riversol Skincare and Pacific Dermaesthetics in Vancouver and an expert in the sun’s ef fect on skin. “I think that ’ s partly because we’re get t ing exposed to ultraviolet radiation year- round and that doesn’t fluc- tuate much.” We asked Rivers what someone who lives in Canada, is exposed to a moderate amount of sun all the time and doesn’t wear sunscreen can expect to see as time goes by.
20s: Rough start
“In the 20s, you’ve had a few sunburns and you may see signs already of sun damage. You’ll have freckles, for example, what we call solar lentigines; these are like brown splotches on the back and the upper shoulder where somebody may have had a sunburn in the past. You may see the skin becoming more coarse, for example, if you run your hand up and down your arm, you may feel it as sort of rough on the outside and smooth on the inside—that is related to sun damage.”
30s: Spot patrol
“You’re going to start seeing brown spots more, especially on the arms and hands. You may see pigmentary changes to the skin as well, in terms of brown blotches. The skin may become more coarse and maybe you’re starting to develop some fine lines.” 40s: Pile on “At 40, it depends on how much sun you’re getting, but the process gets more accumulated. You’re starting to get deeper lines. You’re starting to see a mixture of pigmentation, so it becomes a bit more mottled. Pore size may start to increase on the face. If you’re getting enough sun you may start to get some pre- cancer skin lesions on the décolletage area. You’re starting to see redness sometimes, little broken capillaries, and some textural change to the skin, so it’s not as smooth.” 50s+: Cancer warning
“In the 50s and beyond, you’re getting more sun- related mottling and pigmentation, and the skin may become thinner. You may start seeing the skin bruise more easily because of sun damage. You may star t getting pre- cancerous skin lesions or skin cancer from that time out in the sun.”