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How Many Years Does Sun Damage Add to Your Face?

If you spend time out in the sun with the intention of getting a great tan, then you may be causing permanent damage that’s aging you prematurely. Before you decide to spend an afternoon working on your tan, here’s what you should know about the sun and how it will make you look years older than you actually are.

An Accumulative Effect

When you get a sunburn, the damage is not just skin deep. Long after the burns appear to have healed, the lower layers of your skin will carry the scars. Every burn adds to the damage, but you may not see it on the surface until 10, 20 or even 30 years later. In fact, the first permanent signs of sun damage may only appear in your 40s. They include brown spots, dryness and wrinkles.

10 Years or More

One drastic example of sun damage can be seen in a truck driver who was on the road for decades. With the left side of his face regularly exposed to the sun while the right side was protected, the aging effect of the sun is clear. The left side of his face looks roughly 30 years older with deep wrinkles, dark spots, and a drooping eyelid. Scientists at the University of Chicago have studied the damage and agreed that his premature aging is the result of thickening skin and wrinkles caused by the UVA rays. (You can see the photos here)

You may feel like you’re achieving a healthy glow, but the truth is that you could be adding decades to your appearance. Use quality sunscreen on a regular basis to prevent the damage, and reapply it every few hours if you’ll be outside for extended periods.