Mary Byron By Mary Byron • July 9, 2018

How the Sun Can Damage Your Skin

The sun is not your best friend. The sunlight streaming through your car windows, reflected by snow (yes, it's as bad as sand) or bronzing you while basking on the beach damages unprotected skin more than you can imagine. Preventing harmful UVA and UVB rays from aging skin and increasing the risk for cancer has become a priority. Fortunately applying sunscreen in the first 18 years of life decreases the lifetime risk for developing cancer by 78% - which goes to show that properly taking care of your skin can spell the difference between developing cutaneous cancer, looking like a prune or getting mistaken for your daughter's sister.

Aging can be due to natural causes such as genetics, ethnicity, hormonal changes and the natural wear and tear that comes with the years. Addressing extrinsic aging due to chronic unprotected sun exposure, unhealthy lifestyle, smoking, pollution, sleeping position and habitual expressions is crucial since it actually contributes more to looking tired and older than chronological aging. With aging, collagen synthesis slowed down and collagen breakdown increases. Because oxidation is accelerated, the skin is unable to repair the matrix of damaged elastin and fibrin fast enough nor produce the basic scaffolding of hyaluronic acid. Photaging in particular, results to wound healing that is similar to  scar formation due to the build-up of collagen 1, rather than the more desirable mixture of collagens that makes the skin more supple and elastic. Here's a peek to the personal regimen of Michelle, one of our Providers - they do practice what they preach!

UVA is present during daylight hours year-round, even on cloudy days. Unfortunately, it can even penetrate glass. Because it can reach deeper, it can damage the basal layer of the skin, destroy keratinocytes, and cause skin cancer. UVB on the other hand is responsible for darkening and thickening. No wonder that one of the pillars of anti-aging in the prevention of wrinkled and pigmented skin is the use of proper clothing, headgear and eye wear and the application of  full spectrum sunblock throughout the year.  Sunscreens today are very different from what you had slathered on when you were a child. The best ones are mineral-based (zinc oxide, titanium dioxide) - thinner, glides more easily, and protects more efficiently against both types of radiation. That being said, sunscreen should be liberally (around 3.5 tablespoons) at least 30 minutes before going out of the sun and frequently. 

The good news is that modern Aesthetics can address signs of aging such as wrinkling, sagging, loss of elasticity, crepey-ness, discoloration, vascular lesions and volume loss. In this video, Danielle explains how subtle augmentation using Botox and fillers did wonders to erase the signs of aging and photo-damage.  Chemical peels remove the outer layers, and stimulate collagen growth. ResurFx is great for resurfacing skin and the IPL module works great on pigmented and vascular lesions. Microneedling with or without PRP can decrease the size of pores and accelerate the growth of collagen to restore superficial skin plumpness and elasticity.

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