May 18, 2013
Aging Skin and the Trouble with Tanning
There’s nothing wrong with going outside and catching a few rays now and then. The fresh air and the vitamin-d promoting sunshine can be a great way to energize your body and soul.
For those us with pale, milky skin, a light tan may seem like a great way to cover up those faint wrinkles around your eyes and give you a fresh new look for summer.
If you don’t have time to head outdoors and hit the beach, then a few minutes in a tanning salon may make all the difference between a healthy golden hue and your typical ghostly complexion.
According to a new study conducted by Oslo University Hospital in Norway confirms that regular exposure to moderate levels of sunlight (about 20 minutes a day) can promote good health through the production of vitamin D in the body.
So long as you don’t overdo it.
If you want your skin to stay young and smooth, than you may have to limit the amount of time you spend in the sun – as sunlight and UV damage are notorious for causing prematurely aging skin, making you look several years older than you actually are.
Prolonged exposure to sunlight and UV radiation over a lifetime can trigger a process known as Photoaging, or the degradation of the skin. The more you expose your skin to UV, via tanning beds or otherwise, the more damage you will do to your skin over time. Although those with lighter complexions are at a higher risk than those with naturally darker skin, everyone is at risk to the effects of photoaging.
Even minimal levels of exposure to UV radiation can trigger reactions in the skin, reducing the skin’s abilities to maintain its structure and resilience and can have a dramatic impact on the body’s ability to product collagen, a natural substance that promotes elasticity and firmness in the skin.
The more you soak up those harmful rays, the more you deplete the antioxidants in your skin as well, limiting the availability of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and CoQ10. Even if you’re eating a healthy diet full of vitamin-rich foods for your skin, you’ll still be draining your natural resources.
But that’s not all!
UV radiation can even attack your skin’s natural immune system, which can make it difficult to fight off potential cancers.
Watch Out for Sun Damage
If you’ve ever spent too much time in the sun or in a tanning bed, then you’re probably all-too familiar with sunburns. The reddening and the inflammation of the skin are just the initial steps toward prematurely aging skin, and even though your body may adapt later by turning a pleasant golden brown, the damage to your skin has already been done and photoaging is one its way.
So how can you tell if your skin has been damaged?
• Sagging skin
• Leathery appearance
• Deeper wrinkles around the eyes (crow’s feet)
• Spider veins around the nose, cheeks, or chin
• Age Spots
• Uneven pigmentation
Tips to Avoid Photoaging and Sun Damage
Fortunately there are ways to avoid sun damage and still soak up some all-natural Vitamin D. In a few easy steps, you can take some precautionary measures to save your skin this summer.
Step 1: Sunscreen: Even if you’re not planning on spending a lot of time outside, take a few extra minutes to apply a quality sunscreen. Aim for an SPF of at least 15 and looks for ingredients such as avobenzone, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide.
Keep in mind that some sunscreens can take as long as 20-30 minutes before being absorbed, so apply early and frequently.
Step 2: Eyewear: Squinting in the sun is a double whammy: not only will the sun result in aging skin but the repeated facial expression can cause additional wrinkles. Whether you’re driving in a car or simply going for a quick stroll around your neighborhood, a good pair of sunglasses can protect the delicate skin around your eyes from damage.
Step 3: Hats and Haircuts: Certain haircuts can shade your face more effectively than others, such as having fringe/bangs and long hair. If your hair is short, or if you simply want additional protection, then wear a hat to protect your skin.
This may seem a bit extreme to you, especially since it can take years of exposure before you may see any of the effects of photoaging, but ask your dermatologist to scan your skin and you may be surprised at how much radiation has affected your skin.