How the Sun Ages Us


The sun is out in full force and I’ve seen a number of burnt faces already, even before May. Three ways in which the sun harms us is greatly increasing wrinkles, brown pigmentation spots that are hard to get rid of and potential skin cancer in later years.

As beautiful as the sun is and after being indoors for half the year, it’s wonderful to get outdoors and enjoy its warmth and nourishment. There are some effects of the sun that can age us significantly. Being aware of these and protecting our exposed skin as much as possible will help.

Think of UVB rays for Burn and UVA rays for Ageing. The damage of UVB will burn our skin (the epidermis surface layer), so we need to have a physical sunscreen (SPF), with minerals such as zinc and titanium dioxide when we are out in the sun. Depending on our Fitzpatrick level (hereditary) we may need a mild or a stronger protection.

The silent, damaging rays are the UVA rays that give us wrinkles. Silent rays, because UVA penetrate to the deeper dermis layer. The dermis layer is the factory and memory layer of our skin. We don’t see the damage, but it is happening.

UVA rays send negative ions into the dermis layer of the skin that spin radically destroying cells in its way, as well as breaking down our collagen and elastin, which give us wrinkles. Whenever the skin gets exposed to bright sunlight, the natural protective mechanisms of the skin will no longer be sufficient. So protection against UVA rays is just as important, if not more if we don’t want to look older before our time. We can get these protectors in quality moisturizers, which will include antioxidants, vitamins A, B and C that stabilize these radicals from doing more harm and even mopping them up.

It may sound confusing and it is, however we must protect. The UV spectrum of sunlight includes further wavelength ranges with different effects:

UVA radiation | 320-400 nm – amounts to about 90 % of the UV radiation. It penetrates as far as the dermis, forms radicals and damages the collagen structures of the skin. Hence, it accelerates skin ageing. There is only a slight risk of erythema; however, there is a serious risk of specific forms of skin cancer due to DNA damage.

UVB radiation | 280-320 nm – amounts to about 10 % of UV radiation, penetrates as far as the epidermis and is responsible for sunburns (erythema) and the increased risk of skin cancer. On the other hand, UVB also induces the formation of melanin and thus leads to increased individual protection. Low doses of UVB even have health-promoting effects due to the formation of vitamin D3.

UVC radiation |100-280 nm – also contained in sunlight but absorbed in the upper atmosphere.

For sunscreen products to be effective, they have to cover both relevant wave ranges of UVA and UVB, known as ‘broad spectrum’, so it is important to carefully consider your sun protection options. While some chemical options have great formulations and certainly protect the skin phenomenally, they are hard to reapply during a normal working day. As an alternative, and if you are sensitive to sunscreens in general, try a mineral option (we carry an SPF 30 dry mineral sunscreen).

I am also a fan of dry sunscreen as it affords immediate sun protection since it is made of physical filters, and makes re-application every two hours super easy, even over make-up. Bikers love dry sunscreen, as bugs and dirt stick to moisturized sunscreen. Young kids also love it as it is not absorbed into the skin, unless you are lucky enough to have access to great formulations, like dermaviduals® that contain non-controversial ingredients. On that point, remember that not all ingredients are made equal, and it pays to do some investigation.

With this information in mind, I’d like to introduce you to dermaviduals® SPF 15, 30 or 50 Day Cream  – for sensitive to hypersensitive skin.  As well as we customize your moisturizers to include the actives you need for your skin condition, type and time of year we are in, as summer is so different than our winters.

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