It has been shown that Australian women are ageing more quickly than their overseas counterparts.
A recent study found that Australian women showed “significantly more severe signs of ageing at younger ages and a greater degree of change with age for most features than women from the other countries”. It involved Australian women comparing parts of their faces to those of women from China, the UK, Canada and the US.
The lead author of the study, Associate Professor Greg Goodman, stated that as we’re a predominantly fair-skinned population who grow up spending the majority of their time outdoors even during the winter, our cumulative sun exposure is greater than people in other countries.
These results came about despite the fact that Australian women spend similar amounts of time outdoors as women from other countries, and are even more vigilant when it comes to sun protection.
Many sunscreens protect us against short-wave UVB rays (they’re the ones that cause sunburn), but Australians must also be conscious of UVA rays, which penetrate deeper into the skin, denature fat, and cause facial fat loss.
According to A/Prof Goodman, it’s this loss of facial fat that leads to sagging skin and the appearance of ageing.
To combat both types of UV rays, and to prevent signs of ageing, the best sunscreen to use is broad spectrum SPF 50+.
There’s more to sun protection than just using the right sunscreen though, according to A/Prof Goodman, as sunscreen doesn’t protect us completely from UV rays. Wearing long-sleeved or sun-protective clothing and seeking out shade when possible also play an important role in limiting sun exposure.
Learn more about how our skin ages and we can do to prevent it
If you’d like to learn more about how to best protect your skin from the sun, read our Sunscreen Explained page.
You can read more about how to nourish your skin from the inside out with Joanna McMillan’s top 10 foods for radiant healthy skin.