The greatest impact on how our skin ages is the sun and its ultraviolet (UV) rays. Did you know that approximately 80% to 85% of our skin aging is caused by the sun?
The UV Rays of the sun reach the skin in two different forms: UVA Rays and UVB Rays. UVA Rays (also called the aging rays) contribute 90 to 95 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays that reach the earth's surface. These rays weaken the skin's collagen and elastin fibers, causing wrinkling and sagging in the skin. As we age, the collagen and elastin fibers of the skin naturally weaken. Adding the effects of the sun dramatically accelerates the aging process.
UVB Rays (also called burning rays) are what gives you a sunburn or suntan. The darker color of a suntan is created by your body in an attempt to build a defense against excessive solar radiation. After excessive exposure to sunlight, your skin produces increased amounts of melanin. Although melanin is designed to help protect the skin from the sun's UV rays, when large, frequent doses of UV light are allowed to penetrate the skin, cell damage and destruction can occur. Even though UVB penetration is not as deep as UVA, the UVB rays are equally damaging to the skin.
While the effect of the sun exposure on our skin is aging, there are precautions you can take:
Wear a sunblock of at least SPF 15
Avoid sun peak hours; UV exposure is highest between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Re-apply sunblock after swimming or activities that results in heavy perspiration.
Make sure your sunblock is a full or broad spectrum to filter out both UVA and UVB rays of the sun. Check the expiration date to make sure it hasn't lost its effectiveness.
Use a good moisturizer everyday and to help repair sun damage use a good exfoliator. This will help remove dead, dull, sun damaged skin, and reveal healthy new cells underneath. This will build collagen, which will help reduce wrinkles and sagging. Make sure you always moisturize whether you have dry or oily skin. Deep hydration is one of the keys to younger and healthier looking skin.
Perform regular checkups, both at home and at the Dermatologist. Look for any new growths or growths that have changed in color, size, or shape. If you discover any suspicious growths, you will want a doctor to check it out. Be aware that sun cancer is on the rise so do check your skin often.
The effect of the sun is aging, but with the right products and appropriate precautions you can keep your skin looking younger and healthy. As years go by, your skin will thank you.