Chronic sun damage and the perception of age, health and attractiveness

Chronic sun damage and the perception of age, health and attractiveness

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A weekend in the Bahamas might give your skin a vibrant, sun-kissed glow, but those short-term benefits can backfire in the long run.

In this literature review, researchers explored what current science says about how chronic sun exposure affects skin appearance. In short: badly.

Exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) in ordinary sunlight can do a number on your skin’s appearance. UVR damages collagen and elastin (proteins found in your skin), which leads to wrinkles, roughness and sagging—the classic signs of aging.

Collagen helps strengthen the blood vessels that feed the skin, so healthy collagen levels give your skin a youthful glow. Since UVR exposure damages collagen, it diminishes that glow, leading to dullness and uneven skin tone.

Together, the effects of chronic sun exposure—wrinkles, roughness, sagging, uneven tone and dullness—lead others to rate sun-damaged skin as older, less healthy and less attractive.

If you absolutely must get a tan, go the way of the Jersey Shore cast and stick to spray tans instead.