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How to Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage (You Need More than Sunscreen)

Sun protection is one of the most important ways we can care for our mature skin. Take a look at the best sunblockers for women over fifty – that aren’t sunscreen.

Do you protect your skin from the sun every day?

I mean, every single day, rain or shine or otherwise?

Today is another beautiful summer day here in Southern California! The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and as I type this on my patio I am surrounded by flowers and hummingbirds and a very active family of squirrels. One of the squirrels will come right onto the porch while I’m out there – and even when Oz Dog is out there, too!

Glorious though this day may be, I know being out in the sun is not doing my skin any favors if I don’t protect it.

woman lying on beach with big yellow hat protecting her skin from the sun

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Why is Sun Protection Important for Mature Skin?

While it’s only natural that the aging process affects our skin, we can maintain some control over environmental factors that contribute to this aging.

The greatest of these environmental factors is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.

It’s estimated that 90% of skin aging is due to the effects of the sun!

UV radiation causes the skin to age in several ways.

It causes stem cells to die off, leading to thinning and wrinkling of the skin. UV radiation also activates enzymes that break down collagen and elastin.

How can we control this?

The secret to avoiding aging caused by sun exposure is sun protection.

read about physical self-care for women over 50

My Favorite Sunscreen for the Face: Elta MD Skincare UV Clear SPF 46 Sunscreen

If you read my post on personal care products for mature skin, you’ll recall that I did not include sunscreen for my face. That’s because, at that point in time, I hadn’t found one I really, truly loved enough to use every day, much less recommend to you!

Since then, I started seeing a new dermatologist, who hooked me up with so many amazing and effective skincare products of all kinds.

My favorite of all of them was EltaMD UV Clear Facial Sunscreen Broad-Spectrum SPF 46 for Sensitive or Acne-Prone Skin, Oil-Free, Dermatologist-Recommended Mineral-Based Zinc Oxide Formula, 1.7 oz""” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener sponsored nofollow”>Elta MD Skincare UV Clear SPF 46 Sunscreen. This is truly the Holy Grail of facial unscreen – I was hooked after the first use!

As you might expect, of course, buying skin products at the dermatologist’s office cost a pretty penny. With a quick check on Amazon, I found the same product – for a whole lot less!

This mineral-based formula contains hyaluronic acid to boost moisture retention and diminish fine lines, and niacinimide to minimize pores and smooth skin.

It contains 9% transparent zinc oxide as an effective sunscreen, and this particular formula helps calm and protect sensitive skin types prone to acne (which I don’t have), rosacea, and discoloration (which I do).

Elta MD has other formulas specifically for normal and combination skin; dry and post-procedure skin; a water-resistant sports formula, tinted sunscreen, and children’s sunscreen.

My Favorite Sunscreen for the Body: It’s a Tie

As much as I love the Elta MD sunscreen for my face, I’ve been jumping between two different brands for my body. One, because I purchased them prior to learning about the Elta brand, and two, because I go through so much body sunscreen that I wanted a lower price point.

I’ve found two brands that do the trick for me, protecting my skin from sun damage and keeping it super-moisturized at the same time. That can be tricky here in Southern California – our humidity can dip into the single digits this time of year, so skin-quenching products are so important!

My first favorite sunscreen brand for my body is cult favorite SuperGoop, and most specifically, Supergoop! PLAY SPF 50 Sunscreen Spray. I love the ease of the spray and the fact that it’s water and sweat-resistant.

Like Elta MD, Supergoop offers a huge variety of sunscreens – sprays, lotions, oils, gels – for all different skin types and body parts.

Second, but no less a favorite, is SunBum Original Sunscreen Spray. This oil-free, water-resistant, and reef-friendly (Octinoxate & Oxybenzone Free) sunscreen is great for all skin types. Best of all, it has the best summer scent ever!

Sun Bum has some specialty products, too, such as Clear Zinc SPF 50, After-Sun Aloe Vera Burn Relief, and a Mineral SPF 50 Sunscreen, designed to block rays by sitting on top of your skin.

My Favorite Sun-Blocking Hat: Wallaroo Hat Company Petite Victoria Hat

It’s been two years now since my bucket-list trip to Dubai. One item that I purchased for that trip is one that I use often to this day. That’s my Wallaroo Hat Company Petite Victoria Hat.

Wallaroo Hat Company, based in Australia, is known for both its variety and quality.

Their most popular hat for women is the “Victoria”.

I happen to have a very small head, so in years past I’ve worn hats from the children’s department – and most of them looked the part.

Fortunately for me, the Victoria comes in a petite size AND it has an interior drawstring to further adapt the hat to fit precisely. Finally, a grown-up hat for my child-sized head.

This Victoria hat comes in ten colors, is super lightweight, and best of all – it is totally crushable, packable, smooshable – you can stuff it into your suitcase and it will pop out good as new.

I’m seriously thinking now about ordering Wallaroo’s Monterey Fedora as the second hat in my collection (can it be a collection if you only have two?) It’s classic, classy, and a little preppy. But note: it is not packable, so it’s not a travel hat.

The Aqua Hat is another smart purchase. It floats in water, dries quickly, has a chin strap for security, and an extra-large brim for the best sun protection. There are five color choices – I’m kinda partial to the bright teal.

My Favorite Sunglass Brand: Rayban

You can’t talk about sun protection without mentioning eyewear. A great pair of sunglasses is non-negotiable!

I’ll admit, for most of my life, I grabbed the cheap glasses from Target or Kohl’s (again, in the children’s department, because of my tiny head). And while those were alright, top-quality glasses do so much more to protect your eyesight from the harsh glare of the sun.

We only get two eyes – we’ve got to take care of those babies!

Yes, I’ve learned the hard way that I have to be a little more cautious about sitting on them or leaving them behind in random places when I’ve invested some cash. But trust me, the added eye protection is so worth the investment and extra vigilance.

My favorite sunnies are these Raybans with hexagonal lenses.

Rayban offers such a great, classic collection of sunglasses and the quality is so good.

Classic aviators don’t suit my face shape, but I love the hexagonal lenses on these.

Best of all, most of their sunglasses come in a variety of sizes, so if you’ve got a small head like me, you can still get a great fit. (NOTE: Kate Spade and Lilly Pulitzer also make really nice petite-sized sunnies)

Also Read:

Final Thoughts on Sun Protection for Mature Skin: You Need More than Just Sunscreen

As I have aged, I have gained such a better understanding of the need for skincare.

A big part of that care is sun protection – we go back to that statistic that up to 90% of skin aging is due to the effects of the sun!

All of these products have served me well and I can confidently recommend them.

Do you have favorite sunscreens, hats, and sunglasses? I’m sure you must! Please share them with me in the comments – I’m always looking to try new things!

yellow hat and sunglasses on a rocky beach, sun protection for women over fifty

2 thoughts on “How to Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage (You Need More than Sunscreen)”

  1. Hi Lori. Thanks for the information on skin ageing and exposure to the sun. I guess I’m pretty lucky – I’ve never been a big fan of the sun and stay out of it as much as possible (a beach holiday for me would be absolute hell!). That said, it still makes sense to cover-up both with suncream and sun-deflecting clothing – thanks for the reminder.

    1. That is the ultimate in sun protection – avoiding it all together! Don’t forget about the exposure you get when in your car, taking a walk, sitting near a window! That said, you are probably way ahead of most of us just by avoiding the sun when possible. Thank you so much for reading and commenting, I do appreciate it!

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