The Signs of Photo-Aging: How to Prevent Irreversible Sun Damage

The Signs of Photo-Aging:  How to Prevent Irreversible Sun Damage

It is estimated that 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime. This cancer is also considered one of the most preventable cancers, so heed the advice on how to protect yourself!

 

The changes provoked by chronic UVA and UVB exposure that age the skin is called photo-aging. A New York Times Health Report showed that "Overall, exposure to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight (radiation referred to as UVA or UVB) accounts for about 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging."


The Effect UVB and UVA Rays Have on Your Skin

As new research comes out, the kinds of damage each UV ray causes changes. Even though Vitamin D is provided by the sun, and is extremely important to us in supporting the health of our bones, muscles, skin, eyesight, heart and immune system, we still need to take necessary precautions not to abuse our time in the sun.

 

UVB rays are chiefly responsible for giving you a sunburn. UVB rays are strongest from April-October between the times of 10am and 4pm. UVA rays are around equally during all times and seasons, cause tanning and will also be responsible for most of your skin aging as they penetrate skin more deeply. UVA rays, unlike UVB rays, can penetrate windows and even lightweight clothing - even on a cloudy day. Both can cause cancer and premature aging because of the damage being done to the skin cells and their DNA.  

 

It is also important to note that getting tan causes irreversible damage to your skin, which you will see as you age.

 

Moderation in sun exposure and using proper sun protection are your keys to safety since long-term, excessive exposure to sunlight can increase the risk of certain types of skin cancer.

 

Early Signs of Photo-Aging

  • Sun spots, discolorations, freckles, age or liver spots
  • Wrinkles around the eyes and mouth that increase in number and depth
  • Bruising on sun-exposed sites
  • Red, rough scaly spots, called actinic keratosis or keratoses. They may be pre-cancerous, so you must get them checked!
  • Spider veins/broken blood vessels, which may appear on the nose, cheeks, and neck 

What to Do to Prevent Photo-Aging

  • Use broad spectrum sun protection (this protects against UVA & UVB rays)
  • Use broad spectrum sun protection with SPF 15 or 30.
  • SPF 50+ doesn't mean more protection. There is not sufficient data to show that products with SPF values higher than 50 provide greater protection.
  • Apply sunscreen atleast 30 minutes before you go outside. Reapply sunscreen, even if it is labeled as water resistant, at least every 2 hours.
  • Try to limit time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10am and 2pm when the sun's rays are the strongest. The safest thing to do is to be in a shaded outdoor area between 10am-4pm.
  • Wear clothing and hats to cover exposed skin (long-sleeved shirts, pants, sunglasses, and broad-brimmed hats) when possible. THIS IS THE BEST SUN PROTECTION YOU CAN GET.
  • Remember that UVA rays get indoors too!
  • DO NOT USE acne products that increase sun sensitivity - you are doing more harm than good to your skin 

Keep Your Skin Safe this Summer and ALL YEAR! We can Help YOU!


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