Eye-Opening Photo Shows Long-Term Effects of Wearing Sunscreen on Your Face But Not Neck

Applying Sunscreen

Photo: STYLEPICS/Depositphotos

If you want to preserve your youthful skin, wearing sunscreen should be on the top of your to-do list. Excessive sun exposure can make skin look older—in addition to increased risks for cancer. Sunscreens are highly effective in preventing both of these adverse results. To illustrate this point, a 92-year-old’s face and neck show just how much it matters that you wear protective sun cream.

The image, along with commentary by Dr. Christian Posch, was published in the Journal of The European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. It shows an extreme difference between the nonagenarian’s face (which she used UV-protective moisturizer on) and her neck (which she did not). The skin on her face looks markedly younger with fewer wrinkles and sun spots.

Natural skin aging is called chronological aging, which happens to us all. But UV rays can speed this process up in what's known as photoaging. We should strive for chronological aging, and one way to do that is with preventive care.

“While it is unlikely that we can (or even should) aim at defeating human aging for various reasons, modifiers of aging will still be able to change both healthspan (the time we live without disease) and lifespan,” writes Posch. “After all, who would not agree to an additional 20–40 healthy years?

“Such advancements will be realized by a significant reduction of age-related diseases including the prevention of cancers. Why? Because there is substantial overlap between the hallmarks of cancer and the hallmarks of aging. Thus, addressing biological changes of aging will also address prerequisites of cancerogenesis.”

We can’t stop growing older, but protecting our skin can afford us a better outcome in the future.

This eye-opening photo of a 92-year-old woman shows the effects of consistently wearing sunscreen on your face but not your neck.

UV Skin Damage on Neck

Photo: C. Posch 2021, CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

h/t: [IFL Science]

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
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