I grew up at a time when the bronze glow from a tan was coveted. Armed with baby oil and a reflective panel, I would head out to the backyard to soak up the rays and rejoice at the healthy-looking hew that resulted.
35 years later, I found myself staring at the speckled, uneven, blotchiness of old UV damage manifesting on my face and chest. Ew.
Have you ever stopped to think what really makes skin look "youthful"? Younger skin is smooth, well-hydrated and plump. It's bright.
When ultraviolet (UV) light hits unprotected skin it actually causes genetic defects and mutations to the DNA resulting in:
premature aging of the skin
and solar elastosis.
Even when we think we haven't got much sun damage, a special camera can surprise us with the damage lurking underneath.
Check out this video:
There is still an allure of the perfect tan. But when measured against the long-term effects of sun exposure (or tanning beds), it's really not worth it. The best treatment is prevention; wear a hat and use a physical sunblock that you reapply regularly.
I personally have spent the last 8 years working to reverse the effects of the sun on my skin. Laser and pulsed light treatments, chemical peels, medical-grade facials, and topical serums have been instrumental in helping my skin to be the healthiest and most youthful-looking that it can be. And, I "protect my investment" with daily use of a 50 SPF physical sunblock as well!