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UV and Photoageing

UV and Photoageing

We have all experienced the effects of sun damage to our skin. On the surface we experience signs such as sunburn where our skin is inflamed and may peel after a few days. However, the sun causes a lot more damage than what we see on the surface and ultraviolet radiation (UV) is one of the biggest causes of skin damage.

UV radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun which differs from it’s light or heat. UV radiation is an invisible energy and causes damage to our skin without us even knowing. Our skin is exposed to environmental elements each day, but UV radiation accounts for up to 80% of the visible signs of ageing in the skin. 

What are the effects of UV radiation?

There are obvious signs that we can see on the surface of our skin which are due to the effects of UV radiation. Sunburn and tanning are signs that we are all familiar with, however the damage travels beneath the surface to our skin cells.

Professor Derek Richard explains the extent of UV damage.

“When UV hits our skin, it damages the genetic code and as a result our cells start to age more quickly than they usually do.”

Excessive exposure to UV radiation accelerates the ageing of skin, it appears thicker and increases the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.This process is called ‘Photoageing’, premature ageing of skin from UV radiation exposure.

UV radiation can also lead to the increased risk of skin cancer. As UV damages the genetic code of our skin, the cells start to age faster. This can lead to mutations in our genetic code which can open the path for diseases such as cancer.

How to stop the effects of UV

So how do we stop the effects of UV radiation? Firstly, use sunscreen. “Sunscreen filters out the UV light. So when the UV hits you, it is filtered before it hits the genetic code of your skin cells” said Professor Derek.

However, solely wearing sunscreen will not make you immune to the effects of UV radiation. Wearing protective clothing that covers the skin, as well as a hat and sunglasses can reduce the impact. Also being aware of the time you are spending in the sun is important.

Providing your skin with Vitamin E is also essential in boosting the skin’s protection from UV radiation. Vitamin E strengthens the skin barrier, to prevent damage from UV and keep your skin healthy and youthful.