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The real reason why you look older… faster

The real reason why you look older… faster
By Pearlyn Tham 2 years ago 452 Views No comments

To get skin that looks more aged, you can either grow older. Or, if you can’t wait that long, here’s the fast forward trick: just spend hours in the sun. The #inspo: seafood traders who leave their goods like prawns and cuttlefish out in the sun for days or even weeks to get them looking all dehydrated, coarse and old.

As a teenager, when growing up seemed to take forever, I took the dried seafood route. I would put on my skimpiest swimsuit, find a pool and pretend to swim. Not that I wanted my skin to look older; I wanted to look tanned in an era when having sun-kissed skin meant that you actually did something (fun) over the weekend, like hanging out by the pool with your friends or going for a beach vacay. This was pre-yoga, pre-Pilates and pre-<insert any other cool indoor fitness routine>, of course.

But the sun never only tans your skin; it actually damages skin to tan it.

When faced with an aggressor like UV rays, your skin sets off its natural defence mechanism. It makes more melanin which gives your skin its natural colour and which is said to help protect skin from burning. Picture this: as you stay in the sun longer, your skin produces more melanin so you tan more but what is really happening is that your skin is fighting more and more sun damage. And you had thought that you only need to worry about unsightly tan lines.

The sun is also a powerful natural ager. You don’t even have to understand UVA, UVB, PA++++ terms and the like to know that long-term, unprotected exposure to the sun can cause wrinkles, roughness, a loss in firmness and so on – also why those who work in a predominantly outdoor job tend to have dry, coarse and leathery skin over time.

Recently, my mum, who’s in her late sixties, met her ex-schoolmates who complimented her on her relatively youthful skin. While she’s always slathered on heaps of day and night serums and creams, it’s her suncare routine that has helped keep her skin even-toned, wrinkle-free and resilient. Even when she’s at home, she applies copious amounts of sunscreen – and scares off the DHL man with her white, greasy face – because she says that where there is a window, there is, erm, a window of opportunity for UV damage to take place.

And while I’m not old enough to humblebrag about my own beauty routine yet, I’d like to think that my everyday habit of wearing sunscreen – it’s my day cream, my foundation, my powder, my makeup, my security blanket – has worked a lot better for me than my $500 anti-ageing elixirs have.

Former women's magazine editor Pearlyn Tham bought her first foam cleanser and liquid foundation at the age of 13. More than 20 years later, she has since moved on to eye creams, liquid lipsticks and – her security blanket – sunscreens.

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