There are many appealing ways to be outdoors while living in the Valley of the Sun. Being outside is great for your mental and physical health but if you aren’t careful, it can have a damaging effect on your skin.  You probably didn’t grow up thinking about how to protect your skin from the damage that can cause premature aging and skin cancer.  The good news is that it isn’t too late to start taking protective measures to prevent sun damage before it happens.

One of the most important things you can do is prevent unnecessary exposure to UVA and UVB rays.   Exposure to the sun’s rays causes damage to the fibers that produce elastin, an essential component of youthful skin.  When elastin breaks down, your skin sags and develops wrinkles more easily.  Sun exposure also causes uneven pigmentation and breaks down collagen which also make your skin appear older and damaged.  Tanning might give you a golden glow in the short term, it will eventually lead to wrinkles, brown spots, and saggy skin as you age.  

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Wearing UV blocking clothes is an easy and chemical-free way to prevent sun damage.  Long sleeved rash guards for outdoor activities will keep you from getting burned or tanned and come in many different styles and colors.  Wearing a hat and sunglasses during outdoor activities will help prevent sun from damaging your face and eyes.  And don’t forget about your hands!  Women in Japan have worn driving gloves for decades to prevent the sun from prematurely aging their hands.  While that might not be as accepted in the Valley, you can make sure to wear gloves when biking, paddleboarding, or rowing.

Sunscreen sounds like a cliché, but it is another consistently great way to prevent sun damage.  That said, there is new research showing that the type of sunscreen you use matters.  If you are going in the ocean or other natural bodies of water, it is great to avoid products with harsh oxybenzone chemicals.  These not only cause damage to organic matter in the water, but they also aren’t that healthy for your skin.  Your best option to prevent sun damage is to use a brush-on mineral sunscreen.  These act as a physical barrier between the sun and your skin and are healthier for you and the environment.

Finally, if you want to take your sun-damage-protection game up a notch, consider quarterly visits to your aesthetician.  Many medical spas in the Valley offer innovative laser treatments that help to stop sun damage before it becomes severe.  Lasers also help to stimulate the production of elastin and collagen while encouraging healthier and younger skin cells to come to the surface and do a better job at protecting you from damage.  

Once you have brown spots and wrinkles from the sun, they are costly and difficult to reverse.  So, if you want to look youthful and have vibrant skin as you age, the best thing to do is to avoid the damage in the first place.


Felicia Munion is CEO of Arizona Facial Plastics. Arizona Facial Plastics is an award-winning aesthetics practice in Phoenix, specializing in plastic surgery, cosmetical procedures and sexual rejuvenation. Book your free consultation today by visit or call 480-296-0488.