Sun damage lasts
Do you want to know how to prevent sun-damaged skin?
Cover up and wear sunscreen, whether it is rain, hail or sunshine and seven days a week, please.
Because chances are you don’t live in a windowless cave.
The un-healthy tan
Did you know there is no such thing as a healthy tan?
It is simply a defence mechanism activated by your skins cells.
Sun-damaged skin starts much earlier than you probably realise. It occurs the MINUTE you get your FIRST TAN, which doesn’t become apparent until after the real damage is done.
Exactly how quickly, depends on your skin type and the level of exposure your skin has been exposed to.
Slip. Slap. Slop
We believe no truer words can be spoken when you are planning to go out in the sun.
Besides avoiding sun exposure, using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above, is the number one skin cancer prevention technique.
Unfortunately, we find many of our clients only use sunscreen when they go to the beach; they mistakenly believe that they only need to wear sunscreen when they are sunbathing. Still, as discussed above, the real damage comes from cumulative sun damage done over a lifetime.
What sunscreen is best?
Recently the FDA dropped a little bit of a bombshell when it comes to sunscreen.
They researched several well-known ingredients, and after testing, they revealed that after a single application, a total of seven chemicals commonly found in sunscreens could be absorbed in large amounts into the bloodstream at levels that exceed safety thresholds, and they can stay there for days.
Four of the most common UV filters in chemical sunscreens including; avobenzone, ecamsule, oxybenzone and octocrylene.
The fact that the ingredients are absorbed through the skin and into the body doesn’t necessarily mean that particular ingredient is unsafe, rather, this finding means that there needs to be a call for further industry testing to determine the safety and effect of internal exposure of these sunscreen ingredients, especially with chronic use.
So what the answer? They only give their stamp of approval on two active sunscreen ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, the main components found in “physical sunscreens” that sit on top of your skin, acting as a barrier to UVA and UVB rays.
Damaging free radicals
Sun exposure causes the formation of free radicals in the skin and oxidation. These wild oxygen molecules are volatile; they go on a frantic search to find electrons to help them become stable – they steal these electrons from important structures in our skin like DNA and cell membranes, which are vital for skin health.
When our DNA gets altered, this changes the blueprint for cell replication, when this happens, it changes biochemical reactions in the skin, heightening the risk of skin cancer.
The bottom line is that free radicals are dangerous. They cause a dance of destruction in the skin, creating inflammation and enzymes that destroy healthy collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid, vital skin components, leading to symptoms we relate to as premature ageing.
This damage doesn’t show up until years later. The cumulative effects of sun exposure can be terrible, think sagging skin, wrinkles, rough texture, abnormal growths, and hyperpigmentation, the list is endless.
If you live in a cave?
If you rarely venture outdoors and think this information won’t affect you, please think again.
But wait I hear you say doesn’t glass protect from UV? Whilst it will block UVB, it won’t allow UVA to pass, the percentage all depends on the type of glass and coating.
- 90% of UV passes through laminated and UV coated glass
- 75% of UV can pass through a clear glass
- 25-50% of UV passes through the tinted glass
On a normal day, you go from your house to the car, to work, or the shops, all of which leads to AMBIENT SUN EXPOSURE.
Even short exposure times over the years can add up to a great deal of free radical activity and a lot of sun-damaged skin.
Our top ten protective tips
But stop doesn’t panic; there is good news on the horizon.
If you start today by putting these preventative tips in place, you can stop many of the troubling side effects of the sun in its tracks, and believe us when we say – your skin will thank you for it in many years to come, after all, it’s the only one you have.
- slip, slap, slop and never stop, come rain or shine
- use a physical sunscreen instead of a chemical one
- use a water-resistant sunscreen if you plan to swim
- don’t neglect UV protection when indoors or driving
- if you plan to do activities, avoid stepping out in the sun between the hours of 11 and 3 pm
- regularly eat lycopene and drink green tea, this will protect internally against UV damage
- wear sunglasses that protect you from both UVA and UVB and cover as much of your face as possible
- cover up with hats and clothing made of dark tightly woven material, which absorbs ultraviolet light
- apply your sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before you want to expose your skin and reapply regularly
- don’t be fooled; even cloudy days aren’t enough to stop UVA rays, so make sure you religiously apply your sunblock, even during the winter months
Photoaeging is the biggest contributor to ageing and sun exposure is the number one cause of skin cancer, so protecting your skin from damaging ultraviolet light, is the single most effective thing you can do to retain your youthful appearance.
The easiest way to prevent premature ageing is to get in the habit of applying your sunscreen a few times daily to all exposed areas of your face body, including your neck, hands and shoulders.
If you suspect any changes in your skin, moles that change colour or shape or won’t heal, or even itchy flaky patches of skin that won’t go away, this may indicate possible melanoma or skin cancer, so be sure to make an appointment to see a doctor.
It’s better to be safe than sorry, and it may just save your life.