Photoaging or dermatoheliosisis, is the aging that is caused by exposure to sunlight. Sunlight is comprised of much more than warmth and visible light. The light from the sun is also comprised of ultraviolet rays, x-rays and sometimes gamma radiation. Fortunately, the Earth’s ozone layer in the stratosphere protects us from most of the sun’s damaging radiation. It also protects us from a large proportion of ultraviolet radiation, but some of it still gets through. In some parts of the world, the sun’s radiation is stronger because the ozone layer is deteriorating.
What is ultraviolet radiation?
Ultraviolet radiation is electromagnetic radiation and sits just higher in frequency than the visible light spectrum. Ultraviolet radiation is not visible and an amount of UV radiation is always present during the day, depending on where you are around the world. The energy from UV radiation is so intense, that it causes cellular damage.
There are three types of UV radiation: UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC radiation is reflected off the ozone and it is the highest frequency of UV radiation. UVB is longer in frequency than UVC. This radiation hits the epidermis: UVB radiation causes sunburn, so remember it as UV Burn. UVA radiation is the lowest frequency of radiation and it penetrates deep into your skin, causing cellular damage. It hastens the aging process, so think of UV Age. That is the last thing many of us are after when we search for the best skin care.
What is cellular damage?
Cellular damage is when there are changes to cellular structure and DNA. The minute frequencies of UV radiation are small enough to break apart the DNA of the skin and capillary cells in your dermis.
Repeated exposure to UV radiation breaks apart DNA, causing mutations (such as cancer), permanent breaks in skin structure (wrinkles) and poor cell copies when cells undergo mitosis. Think of it as a photocopy, of a photocopy, of a photocopy, and so on. This is how permanent changes to the skin occur in photoaging such as wrinkles, pigmentation, redness and dryness.
How do you prevent photoaging?
To prevent photoaging the skin needs to be protected from early on in life, which means from birth. For those of us who haven’t been protected from year 0, there is probably a degree of photodamage. The good news is that you can stop any further photo damage from occurring. Always wear sunscreen during the day, stay out of the sun on days where the UV index is high and cover up with protective clothing. If you do happen to get burnt, use an after sun product to reduce inflammation and soothe the skin.
Remember, that sitting behind glass does not protect you from photoaging. Even if you work inside like me, windows let in sunlight and UV radiation! You need to protect your skin from photoaging with an SPF product.
New in December at ENT Wellbeing
Look out for a new Dermalogica SPF product, launching in December and available at ENT Wellbeing.
Call us today on 300 123 368 ENT Wellbeing Sydney and make an appointment with on of our skincare specialists.