Photo aging, skin damaged caused by prolonged time in the sun, resulting in high levels of UV radiation, is usually recognized by the appearance of spots, wrinkles, sagging skin, jaundice like features, is not only unsightly, but also has been known to carry a heightened risk of certain skin cancers. Skin cancer, while often overlooked as a major health concern, actually affects over one million people annually, and poses serious risks to the afflicted person’s life.
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere even when the sky is not sunny, and have proven to be human carcinogen, speeds up the aging of skin, can produce severe burns, and is a major cause of wrinkles in almost all people who do not protect themselves from its rays.
Ultraviolet radiation comes in two forms from its natural source, the sun. UVA radiation is the most common, with over 90 percent of all UV rays being of this type. It is this type of radiation that advances skin aging prematurely, contributes to wrinkles, and is also a source of cancer.
UVB, though being less than 10 percent of the UV rays that come in contact with the skin due to atmospheric filtering, is known to be extremely harmful to skin, a known carcinogen, and even in smaller amounts, is much more damaging than UVA. UVB rays are the central reactionary triggering sunburn and other immediate skin damage, and also harms the eyes, being the main source for cataract destruction.
While this news is not likely to make you jump with joy at the knowledge, there is something you can do to help reduce the chances of permanent skin damage and cancers, prevention. Wearing a sunscreen at all times that you expose yourself to the sun’s rays, even when cloudy, is the most prominent and most effective method of protecting skin from UVA and UVB. While it does not offer 100% protection from the sun, the SPF, or protection rating of your sunscreen will tell you the rate at which UVA and UVB will enter the skin with its protection as opposed to without. An SPF rating of 35 states that UV rays will take 35 times longer to reach and damage your skin than untreated skin.
While many people wear sunglasses, most do not realize that if their glasses have no UV protection, then they are actually helping to promote eye damage, as they allow for pupil dilation due to shading, allowing more damaging rays to enter the eyes. When choosing sunglasses, make sure that they clearly state that they are UV protective lenses, or you will be doing more harm than good. UV protection lenses also help to protect the area around the eyes that are prone to wrinkling, where application of sunscreen is not recommended.
Your skin is the first line of defense your body has against outside invaders, seen and unseen. If you do not take proactive solutions to your skin’s defense, then painful surgery, excessive wear and aging, fragility of the dermis, or even cancer might be in your future. Your skin is too important to ignore. To combat photo aging, prevention is truly the best medicine.