Sun exposure is one of the most detrimental things for the human skin. This is unfortunate, due to the fact that most of us love to be outside on a bright, sunny day. But the fact remains that skin left unprotected from UV rays is more likely to suffer long-term damage that can cause the appearance of wrinkles, lines, and blemishes. In some people, continued sun exposure can even cause skin cancers.
Sun Exposure and Collagen
The human body naturally produces collagen which aids in giving the skin its elasticity and firmness. When we’re young, we produce enough collagen to overcome all of the abuse our skin takes. But as we age, collagen production slows down significantly. Sun exposure only makes things worse because it increases the rate of collagen breakdown. It also inhibits the production of new collagen. Continued exposure to the sun has been scientifically linked to the reduction of collagen, and the subsequent appearance of skin blemishes and wrinkles.
In addition, the sun tends to dry out the skin surface and encourage a mottled complexion and sun spots. The drying process can result in leathery skin or even a disorder known as actinic keratoses. This is a condition where thick patches of reddish skin develop, almost like warts or boils. The good news is that most sun-damaged skin can be repaired, including actinic keratoses.
Photoaging is a term used to describe the effects of light and sun exposure on naturally aging skin. Throughout our lives skin cells are continually replaced as old ones die and new ones are created. In young, healthy skin, damaged and dead cells are replaced fast enough to overcome the environmental factors and bad habits that cause damage. Unfortunately, continued sun exposure slows down the rejuvenation process to a point where the body’s natural mechanisms have a tougher time overcoming skin damage. In terms of photoaging, the sun is accelerating the aging process because it’s inhibiting the rejuvenation of skin cells.
Photoaging is most commonly seen in people with light complexions and those living in more sunny climates. Darker skinned individuals are less likely to experience the condition because the melanin in their skin provides more protection from the sun. It’s also been proven that light skinned individuals are at higher risk for skin cancers if they spend a lot of time in the sun unprotected.
You can immediately protect yourself from sun exposure by using sunblock whenever you plan to be outdoors for an extended period of time. Make sure your sunblock is rated high enough to block out UV rays for hours at a time. For sun damage that has already occurred, there are many natural skin care products on the market that will help rebuild the skin and heal the damage. Natural anti-aging creams and ointments are a great option to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, lines, and blemishes on the face.