The number one factor for increased signs of ageing has to be sun damage. Sun damage is present in almost 80% of the population worldwide and is gradually increasing. Sunscreens (SPF) are the only effective cream in decreasing the amount of sun exposure to the skin, however this doesn’t go to say that UV rays won’t penetrate the skin and cause some form of damage.
UV rays from the sun (most commonly UVA and UVB rays) cause detrimental harm to our cells and tissue that can cause many factors in both increasing the risk of skin cancer and causing stress on major cells like melanocytes and fibroblasts.
Melanoma, also called malignant melanoma, is one of the main types of cancer due to prolonged or increased exposure to the sun. This usually starts off as a change in colour of moles or patches on the skin. The moles can change shape, become scaley, bleed and becoming itchy or sore. If diagnosis is left untreated, this can lead to more advanced and harder to treat types of skin cancer. We highly recommended you see your GP if you see any changes with your skin.
But, how does it effect pigmentation?
UV rays penetrate the skin on a cellular level. Within our skin, starting from the epidermis basal layer (the stratum basal) through the epidermal layers, there are cells known as melanocytes. Melanocytes are melanin producing cells that alters the skin colour through the increased performance of melanin. Over time or with active increased amount of sun exposure, it can cause damage to the melanocytes, in turn this causes an irregular amount of melanin production and that can lead to melasma or hyperpigmentation. Not all the melanocytes can become damaged during the UV exposure and thus leads to irregular patches. This is manageable and can be maintained with the use of Vitamin C and chemical exfoliation.
How does it effect signs of ageing?
UV rays not only cause pigmentation to the skin, increased exposure of UV rays actually shrink cells known as fibroblasts, these are found in the dermal tissue layer known as the papillary layer. Fibroblasts are cells that help in the process of producing collagen and elastin; the supporting fibres of the skin structure. Collagen provides the skin with its firmness while elastin gives the skin its elasticity and tightness. The UV rays shrink the fibroblast cells decreasing the amount of collagen and elastin produced. Due to age this is already decreasing as the years go on and with further UV exposure the skin starts to age rapidly. Look out for products from the Vitamin A family like our Alumier MD prescription Retinol to help increase cellular turn over and fibroblast stimulation.
What can help protect the skin and what should I look for?
SPF plays an important role in protecting the skin’s natural protective function (the stratum corium), protecting against free radicals, pollution and most importantly protecting and preserving the cells. SPFs or sunscreens are becoming more frequent in people’s daily skin care routines and additives in make ups. Quite a high percentage of people are now becoming more cautious of ageing and it is a more popular trend to help prevent the signs of ageing.
SPFs like Alumier MD’s Clear Shield, Sheer Hydration and Moisture Matte all have active ingredients and physical filters to help add moisture to skin and reflect UV rays. Unlike most SPFs they have physical filters like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide to help reflect and scatter UV light and increasingly minimise UV absorption. Most SPFs contain a chemical filter that actually absorb UV light within them and chemically change the rays to minimise the damage on the skin, however the cells and surrounding tissue still take a hit of the UV absorption and damage.
Activated vitamin C such as L Absorbed Acid or Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, are both active stable forms of this vitamin, which are amazing antioxidants and helps protecting the skins firmness and support from UV rays and pollution.
As one of our skin therapists and Alumier MD professionals for advice on how our treatments and products can help with sun damage, managing pigmentation and preventing signs of ageing: