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How Does Sun Exposure Increase The Aging Process Of The Skin

Published by Leon Tcheupdjian

It’s inevitable that over time, no matter how much we might try to prevent it, our bodies will visibly age. Wrinkles, fine lines, and changes in pigmentation are some of the most common changes that happen to our skin as the years pass.

While there are many environmental factors that contribute to the changes to our skin’s texture and appearance, one of the main causes is sunlight. Also known as photoaging, this type of damage to our skin is caused by exposure to both sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) light.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 90 percent of the visible changes to our skin are a result of the cumulative sun damage we’ve suffered throughout our lifetime.

A woman smiles with her eyes closed as the sun rays shine down upon her face.


The Sun’s UVA and UVB Rays

How does sun exposure increase the aging process in the skin? By answering that question, we don’t want to get too far into the scientific weeds, but basically, the sun produces two types of UV rays: UVA and UVB rays. While both rays produce UV radiation, the ways these rays affect your skin entirely depends on how long you are exposed to them. UVB rays are shorter than UVA rays, and they’re the ones largely responsible for the sunburns most of us develop from spending time outside.

The longer rays, also known as UVA rays, are the ones responsible for much of the damage associated with photoaging.

The UVA rays penetrate the outer layer of our skin, the epidermis, and reach the secondary layer, the dermis, where they damage the collagen fibers in our skin. This damage leads to the production of special enzymes whose purpose is to rebuild our skin. Instead of repairing or replacing our skin, these enzymes can malfunction and degrade the collagen after too much sun exposure. This leads to skin that’s incorrectly rebuilt.

As this process repeats throughout our lives, skin that’s been incorrectly rebuilt can become wrinkled, dry, and leathery in appearance.

Other visible signs of skin damage can include:

  • Moles
  • Age spots or liver spots
  • Scaly, rough patches of skin
  • Rosacea – red blotches or bumps on the face
  • Precancerous lesions, also known as actinic keratoses

Beyond these specific skin problems, aesthetically, this exposure can make you appear older beyond your years. A recent study conducted in Japan, concluded that women with lower levels of sun exposure looked anywhere from 8 to 16 years younger than women exposed to higher levels of sunlight.

Beyond the Sun’s Rays

As if sun damage were not enough, it’s estimated that about 10 percent of the accumulated damage to our skin comes from HEV (high-energy blue light) emitted by the sun as well as devices like your computer and smartphone, and invisible infrared light. The latter can come from sources as commonplace as glowing light bulb filaments and electric stove coils.

In other words, skin damage doesn’t necessarily stop when the sun goes down. While that glowing star, 93 million miles from the earth, is the main culprit, there are other places you can experience UV exposure.

One of the worst and common culprits of skin damage can be through artificial tanning booths. Exposing your skin under these intense lights can not only put you at risk for skin damage and age spots but also different types of skin cancer.

Help for Your Aging Skin

You can protect your skin by wearing sunscreen with a SPF (sun protection factor) of 30 or higher, and, if possible, limiting your time in the sun to 10 to 30 minutes a day. That’s plenty of exposure to help your body produce needed amounts of Vitamin D.

Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in Naperville, Illinois

Beyond self-care, we have numerous solutions that can address your skin problems at Liposuction and Cosmetic Surgery Institute. Sun-damaged and heavily wrinkled skin often requires more than facial creams to reduce deeply-rooted wrinkles.

We offer surgical face lifts, thread lifts, and plenty of other procedures that could give your skin a firmer and smoother appearance.

We also offer chemical peels, botox, and other noninvasive solutions that can address your skin problems. Some of these noninvasive, resurfacing procedures performed by our specialists at Liposuction and Cosmetic Surgery Institute can remove the outer, damaged layers of skin to reveal tighter, younger-looking skin. And when these layers regenerate, the underlying collagen we mentioned earlier remodels, tightening the skin and improving its texture.

If you’re looking for a more skin-friendly sunscreen to apply on your face and body, then check out the Solaris sunscreen products we carry in our online shop.

The effects of skin tightening or resurfacing can be nothing short of amazing. If you’re interested in learning more about this procedure contact us today at Liposuction and Cosmetic Surgery Institute.

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