How Sun Exposure Ages Your Skin
The ultra-scary truth about ultra-violet rays and
how they’ll make you
an ultra-smart skin care shopper.
From the moment you’re born, everyone is always telling you (and sometimes yelling at you) to wear sunscreen. “The sun gives you cancer. The sun makes your skin blotchy. The sun gives you wrinkles.” And unfortunately, it all gets worse as you age. But the big question is why.
This guide is designed to give you the straight scoop on how and why the sun accelerates the aging process, causing everything from dehydration and wrinkles to sun spots and sagging…not to mention, skin cancer. This guide is not meant to scare you, but rather to help you understand what’s really happening so you can make smarter sunscreen and skin care shopping decisions.
How to accelerate aging?
It's as simple as 1-2-3
You go out in the sun either wearing the wrong sunscreen or no sunscreen at all.
UVA and UVB rays penetrate deep within the skin and at the surface, releasing something called free radicals.
Free radicals go on the attack, aging your skin with wrinkles, dryness, sagging, and more.
Shedding light on free radicals
Never heard of free radicals? Heard about them but don’t really know what they do? Join the club.
Free radicals are unstable molecules always on the hunt for an electron to bond with. Unfortunately when they “steal” those electrons from other molecules, they initiate chain reactions that inflict damage on healthy cells and tissue. The result: aging skin.
3 glaring signs of aging skin
Wrinkles and sagging
Why it happens: Free radicals attack collagen and elastin
Collagen and elastin are protein fibers that create scaffolding for your skin, providing a supportive structure that holds up your epidermis or outermost layer of skin. When free radicals assault collagen and elastin, the skin loses its strength and elasticity and starts to sag and wrinkle.
Dry, leathery skin
Why it happens: Free radicals attack lipids
Lipids help create a protective barrier for your skin that does two important things: it holds moisture in and keeps the elements, like sun and wind, out. Unfortunately, when lipids go head to head with free radicals, your lipid barrier is compromised, causing dry, leathery and irritated skin.
Sun spots, blotchy skin…and even skin cancer
Why it happens: Free radicals attack DNA
Prolonged exposure to UVA rays can increase melanin production, creating hyperpigmentation (or uneven darkening of the skin) and age spots. What’s worse, when free radicals wreak havoc on cell DNA they cause cell mutations that may result in skin cancer, including melanoma.
Sunscreens and antioxidants to the rescue
Two of the best ways to prevent free radicals from accelerating the aging process is to wear sunscreen religiously and boost your antioxidant levels topically.
Broad spectrum sunscreen
Aging is unavoidable, unless you find the fountain of youth. Sun exposure, on the other hand, is completely within your control. Which is why it’s a smart place to start when it comes to addressing aging skin. Sunscreen with zinc oxide repels most UVB and UVA rays before they can enter the skin and set up a free radical chain reaction. Wear it every day, from dawn to dusk, rain or shine.
Antioxidants, found in everything from red wine to raspberries, are molecules that prevent free radicals from harming healthy tissue. But as you age your body’s antioxidant levels decline, giving the upper hand to free radicals. Unfortunately, you simply can’t eat enough blueberries to fight back and when taken internally, very few antioxidants actually get to the skin. Supplementing with topical antioxidants is the solution to saving your skin.
More skin care questions? Please let us know if there’s a skincare topic you’d like to learn more about by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org