The best way to prevent sun-damaged skin and skin cancers and to reduce wrinkles in any case is to avoid episodes of excessive sun exposure, particularly during the hours of 10am to 4pm when sunlight delivers 80% of its total daily UV rays. Reflective surfaces, such as sand, concrete, and white-painted areas should be avoided. Clouds and haze are not protective, and in some cases may intensify UVB rays. The intensity of UV rays depends on the angle of the sun, not heat or brightness. Sun lamps and tanning beds provide mostly UVA rays, and some experts believe that 15 to 30 minutes at a tanning salon are as dangerous as a day spent in the sun.
Sunscreens and sunblocks, used generously, are recommended by Australian cosmetic doctors to reduce wrinkles and skin ageing as well as to help prevent skin cancers. They represent an important part of anti-ageing skin care. It is important not to use sunscreen in order to stay out in the sun longer as it could actually lead to more seriously sun-damaged skin, ageing the skin without the warning of sunburn. It should be noted, however, that people don't apply enough sunscreen and many of the studies conducted on older sunscreens before the development of newer products with high sun protection factors (SPF30+) showed they actually offered little sun protection. Sunscreens should be used in combination with other sun protection measures such as protective sunglasses and clothing. Any sunscreen should contain a wide spectrum of UVA-blocking ingredients, which include butyl methoxydibenzoyl-methane (also called avobenzone or Parsol 1789), dioxybenzone, oxybenzone, sulisobenzone, methyl anthranilate, octocrylene, and octyl methoxycinnamate or ethylhexyl p-methoxycinnamate. Assuming the same ingredients are used, inexpensive products work as well as expensive ones. Waterproof formulas last for about 40 minutes in the water, whereas water-resistant formulas last half as long. Sunblocks prevent nearly all UVA and UVB rays from reaching the skin, but to be fully protective they must contain zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
The SPF is an indexed number based on the amount of UV radiation required to turn sunscreen- or sunblock-treated skin red compared to non-treated skin. Sunscreens should not be used on babies younger than six months. Older children should apply sunscreen of at least SPF 15. For adults, any sunscreen or sunblock used should have an SPF factor of 15 or higher; adults who rarely tan and burn easily should use SPF 30. Sunscreen or sunblock should be applied liberally 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors and reapplied every two hours or so even on overcast days and especially after exercise or swimming.
Wearing clothing that provides sun protection is extremely important and protects even better than sunscreen. Everyone, including children, should wear hats with wide brims. Clothing is being designed for blocking UV rays and is being rated using the UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) index, with 50+ UPF being the highest. People should look for loosely fitted, unbleached, tightly woven fabrics. Washing clothes over and over improves UPF by drawing fabrics together during shrinkage. Clothing treated with a new compound called Rayosan increases the UPF rating of normal summer-weight cotton by 300%. Eye protection is also very important, and everyone over age one should wear protective sunglasses that block all UVA and UVB rays when in the sun.
People are encouraged to wash their face with a mild non-soap cleanser as part of their daily facial skin care routine. Alkaline soaps, especially with deodorant, should be avoided. The skin should be patted dry and a water-based moisturiser (ideally with SPF 30 filter) applied immediately to prevent further dehydration. Hundreds of skin care creams and lotions are available which claim to reduce wrinkles, although very few have clinical data to support their claims.
Needless to say, a healthy lifestyle is the best way to reduce wrinkles long-term: Daily exercise to improve circulation, a healthy diet with plenty of whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables, staying out of the sun or wearing sunscreen, and on-going methods for reducing stress and tension will all help reduce the visible signs of ageing.
If you are interested in treatments to reduce your wrinkles, you may want to find a medical professional with experience in wrinkle treatments, including injectables and chemical peels, and someone familiar with Cosmetic Rejuvenation Techniques. To make the selection process easier, consider using our Clinic Finder. Clinics listed here have medical professionals who focus on wrinkle treatment and facial aesthetics, with a detailed knowledge of facial anatomy and the ageing process that causes wrinkles. They are currently practising Cosmetic Rejuvenation Techniques and may be able to answer any queries.