The aging process is influenced by several things beyond our control. However, there are two factors we can combat: exposure to sunlight and free radicals.
Exposure to sunlight causes “photo” aging due to short wavelength — UVB — injury (sunburn) to the outside layers of the skin (epidermis), and long wavelength — UVA — to the middle layers (dermis). DNA is damaged and Vitamin A and other nutrients essential for healthy cell production and immunity are destroyed.
Free radicals result from smoking and exposure to pollution which accelerates the aging of the skin and may increase the chance of skin cancers.
Photo aging results in fine lines and wrinkles, rough texture and dry skin, discoloration (brown spots/white marks), broken or prominent blood vessels, harmless brown warty lesions, and skin cancer. Consult your doctor if you have any growing lumps, sores that don't heal, or new spots, especially dark brown or black.
What can you do?
- Protect yourself from sun exposure completely when possible and apply sunscreen every day, summer or winter, sunshine or rain (UVA penetrates clouds). Your sunscreen must contain antioxidants to minimize the effects of UVA.
- Avoid smoking and exposure to pollution. Antioxidants in creams minimize the negative effects of free radicals.
- Replacing essential nutrients with a healthy diet is not sufficient. Vitamins A and C, for example, are virtually all used up before reaching the skin. It is essential that Vitamin A, depleted by UVA each day, be replaced by applying a cream.
There are new advances in skin care, backed by science, with measurable results. UV photography shows damage not visible to the naked eye. Is your skin as healthy as it looks?
Dr Lance Setterfield (Cosmetic Physician)