I'm not about scaring people into doing things, but skipping sunscreen can have some pretty not-so-awesome consequences and you deserve to know! If you generally slack on applying SPF, these scary things that happen when you don't wear sunscreen might motivate you to start slathering it on. Since picking the right sunscreen for you isn't hard to do, you officially have no excuse.
For the full story on what can happen if you skip sunscreen, I reached out to Dr. Lotika Singh of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York. Not surprisingly, the first thing Dr. Singh says is, "The scariest thing, of course, is the increased risk of skin cancer!" Backing her up on this is Dr. Janet H Prystowsky, MD, who told me, "UV rays that cause sun damage and age your skin are out year-round ... Working outside, sitting by your office window, and spending time outdoors will expose you to [potentially cancer-causing] UV radiation." Yup, even if you're hanging inside by a window, you need to apply SPF to avoid developing skin cancer.
Beyond that giant risk, skipping sunscreen can cause other weird and scary things to happen to your body if you neglect applying it regularly. I've paired Singh's comments with links to purchase good-for-you sunscreens below so you can safely avoid sun damage this season!
Dr. Singh warns that skipping sunscreen can "create sunspots, [which] leaves the skin with hyper-pigmentation and speeds up the overall effects of aging."
What the heck is telangiectasias and what does it have to do with sunscreen? The term is essentially a fancy way to say broken blood vessels, which Dr. Singh explained can be caused by UV exposure.
3. Increased Wrinkles
"If you don't wear sunscreen, you will damage [your skin's] collagen and connective tissue ... [This] leads to loss of elasticity and increased wrinkles," Dr. Singh tells me.
4. Painful Burns
When your unprotected tanning goes too far, Dr. Singh warns, "Severe sunburns with blistering can be very painful often requiring pain medication and/or other anti-inflammatories." Yowza.
5. Potential Scarring
"In patients with underlying photosensitive disorders such as lupus, direct UV rays can exacerbate their disease and in some cases lead to scarring," says Dr. Singh.
Literally all of these struggles can be avoided with sunscreen, so don't forget to use it. Promise?
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