Without protection from the sun’s rays, just a few minutes of sun exposure each day over the years can cause noticeable changes to the skin. Many years ago before enough research was done, we were not as sun smart as we are today. Free radical and UV exposure is one of the most common causes of skin aging concerns amongst young and old. Living in Australia we are blessed with beautiful sunny days, however UV rays can be damaging to the skin. Not only has exposure to UV rays been proven to cause skin cancers, it has also been proven to cause aging in the skin.
The special effects of Sun Exposure
The aging that it causes are:
- Lines and wrinkles
- Thickened and leathery-looking skin
- Dry skin
- Uneven skin tone
- Loss of elasticity causing sagging skin
- Sunspots on the hands from driving the car
“Photoaging” is the term dermatologists use to describe this type of aging caused by exposure to the sun’s rays. The amount of photoaging that develops depends on :
- A person’s skin color
- Their history of long-term or intense sun exposure.
People with fair skin who have a history of sun exposure develop more signs of photoaging than those with dark skin. In the darkest skin, the signs of photoaging are usually limited to fine wrinkles and a mottled complexion.
Repeated sun exposure causes the skin to lose the ability to repair itself, and the damage accumulates. Scientific studies have shown that repeated ultraviolet (UV) exposure breaks down collagen and impairs the production of new collagen. Prolonged sun exposure weakens the skins elastin production causing the skin to sag, the skin also becomes wrinkled, and leathery much earlier with unprotected exposure to sunlight.