Excessive exposure to the sun is the number one cause of damage and premature aging of the skin. In order to maintain youthful skin, it is necessary to spend as little time as possible in the sun, even if you are using a sunblock .
Is it any wonder that the face and hands, which are almost always exposed to the sun, are the first places to show signs of aging? A biomedical researcher who has studied the skin’s response to sunlight, concluded that ninety percent of the skin problems associated with aging are the result of too much exposure to the sun.
He states, “…changes produced in the skin by UVB and UVA are in the altered biochemistry of DNA, cell membrane disorders, and effects on enzymes and other proteins and amino acids.” The skin undergoes a definite physiological reaction after exposure to the sun.
First, the skin reddens from the dilation of blood vessels caused by the heat and light rays of the sun. Following the redness, there is increased cell production that results in a thickening of the skin. Melanin production also increases, causing the skin to darken, a response designed to provide protection against further ultraviolet harm to the body Blisters can form and surface skin peels.
Excessive sun exposure over the years results in long-term damage to the dermal layer of the skin, decreasing flexibility and elasticity while reducing the ability of collagen and elastic to support the skin and retain moisture. Though sun exposure wreaks havoc with the complexion, it also poses health hazards.
Ninety percent of all skin cancers develop on sun exposed areas of the body and skin cancer is increasing at an alarming rate in the United States. This has been attributed to the social desirability of having a “tan” and also to atmospheric changes in the ozone layer.
Dermatologists warn that no one is immune to the harmful effects of the sun but those at particularly high risk include people with fair skin, blond or red hair, and blue or green eyes. Being sensitive to the sun (such as experiencing nausea, rashes, or dizziness after exposure), having freckles, or having large or numerous moles also increases your risk.
In addition, if there is a family history of melanoma or if you have suffered from a blistering sunburn anytime in your life, your risk of developing skin cancer is increased.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends starting sun protection in childhood, as soon as there is any exposure to the sun. Researchers believe that if a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 is used during the first eighteen years of life, skin cancer can be reduced by seventy eight percent.
However, even when wearing a sunscreen or sunblock, people need to limit their exposure to the sun, especially those at high risk.
Guidelines For Preventing Skin Cancer and Premature Aging