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Guest Contributor

Sunshine makes us feel good, but those golden rays are responsible for 80 percent of skin aging.

Time does the rest – the slip in collagen that starts in your twenties, the slowing of cell turnover, the steady erosion of fat and bone.

The good news is that over-the-counter treatments with the right ingredients can help staunch wrinkling, sagging, brown spots and blotchiness.

That’s the word from dermatologist Dr. Stephanie Savory, who directs the Pigmented Lesions and Melanoma Clinic at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

“Sunscreen is by far the most effective agent for protecting and rejuvenating your skin,” Savory emphasizes.

Speaking at the 2017 Carolyn P. Horchow Women’s Health Symposium, she proved her point with a jaw-dropping photo of a longtime truck driver whose left eye, cheek and temple looked decades older than the right side of his face. (Curious? Google “truck driver face after 30 years.”)

Smooth on sunscreen and SPF lip balm every morning, Savory instructs, and reapply midday, everyday. Keep some in the car for touchups.

Love the great outdoors? Hats with three-inch brims, sun-protective swim shirts and other SPF clothing minimize signs of aging as well as risk of skin cancer, the nation’s most common cancer.

What Works

To slow or turn back the clock, look for crucial ingredients, Savory explains.

Moisturizers should contain humectants. These are water-binding elements that draw and retain moisture, such as hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, urea and allantoin. Moisturizers also need an occlusive barrier protector such as lanolin, petrolatum or mineral oil,  to seal in moisture.

Vitamin A derivatives called retinoids combat wrinkling and sagging by stimulating the skin’s production of collagen, elastin and humectants. They hold skin together and give it elasticity. Look for retinol, retinal-palmitate or retinaldehyde, which is considered less irritating.

Vitamin C (L-ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant that fights free radicals and simulates collagen production. Alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid accelerate exfoliation and cell turnover to build a thicker, more youthful dermis.

In lightening products, the effective components are hydroquinone, kojic acid and arbutin, Savory says.

Simple, right?

Products Featured

La Mer at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, The Introductory Collection ($150)

L'Occitane, Immortelle Precious Serum ($70)

Aveda, inner light mineral tined moisture broad spectrum SPF 15 ($30)

Aesop, B & Tea Balancing Toner ($35-55)

fresh, Rose Deep Hydration Face Cream ($40)

Kiehl's Since 1851, Tumeric & Cranberry See Energizing Radiance Mask ($32)

La Prairie at Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom, Line Interception Power Duo

Origins, A Perfect World SPF 40 Age-Defense Moisturizer