Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Protect Your Skin From the Harmful Effects of the Sun

Photo damage and photo aging are scientific terms for the same condition. As you expose your skin to UV rays over time, damage is incurred in both the dermis and epidermis. This damage is sometimes visible as freckles, and as we age, it becomes visible as age spots. But the discoloration that the sun creates is not always visible on the surface of the skin and can actually lurk beneath the skin's layers, creating a muddied, dull appearance. Additionally, extensive sun exposure can also contribute to loss of collagen and elastin, which cause fine lines, loss of tone and wrinkling.

Photo-aging is cumulative, so if you are a sun worshiper or tanning bed enthusiast, your skin will always look older than its chronological age. That "healthy glow" is actually a sign of sun damage and if you don't protect your skin with the use of an SPF of 15 or greater, it will one day give way to a leathery, thick skin that is less than flattering and not at all glowing.

Staying out of the sun altogether is a way to prevent sun damage, but since most of us are not willing to walk around with parasols all day, nor avoid the sun entirely, our best recourse is the use of daily sunscreen. Using a treatment product containing a sun protection factor of 15 or higher is the best investment in your skin's future.

UV exposure interferes with collagen and elastin production and can actually alter the DNA of some cells. With repeated exposures, the cycle continues and your skin develops wrinkles and sagging. Collagen gives skin strength and fullness while elastin is responsible for giving skin elasticity and stretch.

In addition to the outwardly visible results of sun exposure, what it can do to your skin can be much more damaging. 1.3 million people will be diagnosed with skin cancer this year. More than 90% of all skin cancers are caused by sun exposure, yet less than 30% of us routinely use sun protection. The daily use of sunscreen will not only help keep your skin looking its youngest, but it will also help prevent the probability of developing skin cancer in the future.

Quote of the Day

"Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines, practiced every day." Jim Rohn