Let me say this, Kimmy Schmidt is a bubbly, beautiful and exciting character. But what does this show have to do anything with skincare? In Season 1, Episode 4 Kimmy goes to a ‘skin clinic’ (I’m assuming a dermatologist and/or plastic surgeon) where the doctor is fascinated by how she doesn’t have any ‘sun damage’, but prominent ‘scream lines’.

For all those who haven’t watched the show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is about a 29 year old woman adjusting in the New York life after being saved from an underground bunker (with three other women who were talked into believing the world is over because of an apocalypse (btw the creepy Reverend told them that to lure the girls into his freakish cult, after fifteen years they’re saved and set free into the real world). Anyway, back to skin talk.

When I was watching Kimmy Schmidt, I thought of how many years she’d spent in that Apocalypse Bunker, with zero exposure to the sun. This means she probably won’t show rapid signs of aging, wrinkles, sun damage, pigmentation and age spots. Obviously,this is the real world and not an underground tv show bunker, so there’s this thing called sunshine, or better known as UVA/UVB rays. These rays might help with vitamin D, but overexposure will sure as hell accelerate the process of aging. Hypothetically speaking, if Kimmy stuck to a good skin regimen and was religious about wearing sunscreen in New York, then she might be able to maintain her healthy and undamaged skin.

By 25 years of age, skin is already on the pathway to decreasing cell renewal, so Kimmy don’t forget to buy a good sunscreen with ingredients like Zinc oxide or Titanium oxide. At least, that’s what I think. Enough about Kimmy, and let’s talk about how the sun affects skin, and what we must do to protect it.

Too much sun exposure has been known to cause skin lesions or even skin cancer. However, signs of aging can show up within your mid or late twenties too. Here’s a list that breaks it down into tiny details:

  • Pigmentation, Sunspots and Discoloration– Damage done to the skin in early years might show up later on. To avoid those pesky brown spots and pigmentation marks, it’s best to use a sunscreen every time you step out of the house. This gives the skin protection and avoids gradual formation of discolouration.
  • Fine lines and Wrinkles– You might feel like the fountain of youth right now, but don’t let that hold you back from using sun protection. The sun can age skin faster, so the under eye and forehead wrinkles you might not have seen in your early twenties can take you by vengeful surprise in thirties. This can’t be generalized, because other factors like genetics, health and lifestyle also play a huge role.
  • Gradual breakdown of collagen and change in texture: Spending too much time in sun can change skin texture in the long run. It can cause thick dark brown patches on the skin too. Breakdown of collagen happens and skin losses its elasticity.

There are so many ways to protect your skin, but one of the most recommended ways is using sunscreen. Doctors even advise full clothing and wide hats in hot climates. In many cultures, women cover their faces with draped cloth or even use umbrellas to protect their skin. Otherwise, you could also easily slap on a reliable sunscreen and step outside to begin your day.

  • Avoid peak timings of sun: The intensity and amount of sunlight varies in each place, depending on where you live. Generally, direct or prolonged exposure to sun should be avoided from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m.
  • Sunblock and Sunscreen: Decades ago, sunblock used to be a lotion that had a white ghostly cast when applied. It had a majority of physical blocks such as “zinc oxide” and “titanium oxide” and they acted as barriers towards UVA and UVB rays. With its thick consistency the sunblock would sit and stay on the skin for a long time. But today, we have sunscreens that carry chemical and physical properties. They’re usually not too thick and don’t leave a white cast like sunblocks in previous times. Many brands make sure they include a percentage of physical barriers such as zinc oxide and titanium oxide. These sunscreens assure protection from UVA and UVB rays. Then there’s the whole story about SPF or Sun Protection Factor, where the number determines how long you can stay in the sun with sunscreen versus without sunscreen. Companies showcase the duration and efficacy of their product through SPF as well. Obviously, it’s not perfectly numbered and genetics, skin type, product ingredients play a huge role in how the skin reacts to the sun. Mostly recommended is at least SPF 30, just to stay on the safe side. Doctors advise broad spectrum sunscreen to prevent direct exposure to UVA (ultraviolet A rays which are longwave and cause wrinkling, tanning and premature aging) and UVB (ultraviolet B rays which are shortwave and cause burning).  Remember to reapply sunscreen when out for long periods. It’s efficacy wears off with time, sweat and water. Please refer to this link which better explains UVA and UVB.
  • New formulas, Glasses, Hats and Clothing: It’s convenient to have different formulations of sunscreen (gel, spray, cream) being made with each passing year. More protection is promised alongside ingredients that counter brown spots or sun damage. Many Japanese and Korean brands have added benefits in their sunscreen, with cooling effects, more transparency (less of a white cast effect), less sun damage and reduced appearance of brown spots. To be extra cautious, it’s best to protect eyes with sunglasses. Many women carry umbrellas or wear hats in summer season to avoid sun damage. Protective clothing also keeps the skin safe.

I’ve got a small collection of sunscreens, however the most regularly used brands have been Shiseido, Vichy and Fenix.

Good luck to Kimmy Schmidt and may the sunscreen gods be with her!



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