Check out this photo of a 68 year old truckdriver. For 28 years, the left side of his face was exposed to UVA rays through the window of his truck.

See the difference?

The left side shows extreme wrinkling, puckering and sagging. The right side looks much smoother.

UVA rays are in sunlight. They penetrate glass and clouds. They don’t cause sunburn so you can’t tell when you’re being exposed to them but they definitely do cause damage over time.

The SPF rating of a sunscreen specifically measures the time to develop sunburn with the sunscreen compared to without the sunscreen. (So if you normally burn in 5 minutes without sunscreen, an SPF of 15 would mean you could be in the sun for an hour and a quarter before you would burn.)

But sunburns occur because of UVB rays, not UVA so the SPF rating doesn’t tell you whether you would be protected from the kind of damage that this man has developed.

You need to use a sunscreen that protects against UVA rays. And you need to use it every day, whether you’re playing outdoors or just travelling to and from work. UVA rays are hitting your skin in the height of summer and the depths of winter.

Look for ingredients like zinc oxide (also called micronized zinc), titanium dioxide or avobenzone to ensure protection against UVA. The concentration should be at least 4%.

When you’re 69, would you rather look like this?


Or like this?


This photo was originally published in the New England Journal of Medicine. It was reprinted in the Daily Mail.