Given that we live in Florida where people tend to spend more time outside, Gardner Plastic Surgery thought it might be incumbent to remind our readers of the inherent danger to your skin posed by excessive exposure to the sun.
As the body’s largest organ, our skin serves as a protective barrier that shields the rest of our bodily systems from the ravages of the natural elements and takes the brunt of any damages caused by accidents or other physical impacts. While skin naturally changes as we age, the rate and extent of such change can be significantly exacerbated by the harmful rays of the sun. In fact, the biggest contributor to aging skin—other than advancing age itself—is sun damage.
UV Exposure is a Big Factor in Aging Skin
Your lifetime exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun (and/or from tanning booths) is a big factor in creating age spots, wrinkles, collagen breakdown and irregular skin cells like moles and other blemishes. Ultraviolet light exposure may at times cause even more damage than even genetics, smoking, poor diet or stress. Likewise, the incidence of skin cancer is caused more by exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun and tanning booths, than other factors such as genetics and diet.
What in Sunlight Causes the Damage?
Along with providing light, the sun (and tanning booths) emit a spectrum of UV radiation that can penetrate and damage your skin. “Long wave” UVA rays penetrate the skin deepest, reaching far into the thickest layer of skin, known as the “dermis.” Exposure to UVA rays over time causes premature skin aging, wrinkling, suppresses the immune system and plays a role in skin cancer formation. “Short wave” UVB rays only penetrate the skin’s surface area, but is the cause of sunburning, and plays a key role in the development of cancer and melanoma. Sunburned skin also leads to overall skin damage over time.
Best Preventive Strategies for Warding off Sun Damage
Among the best preventive strategies for warding off sun damage are to wear broad-spectrum sunscreen on all potentially exposed parts of your body every day. In particular, sunscreens that work as mechanical or physical blocks due to their inclusion of UV ray-blocking micronized zinc oxide and/or titanium oxide. Along with “broad spectrum,” sun blocks should be high in “SPF,” which stands for “Sun Protection Factor,” a measure of how well a sunscreen protects from UVB rays. Most dermatologists recommend using a sunscreen with an SPF of between 15 and 30. While there is nothing wrong with using a higher SPF sunscreen, higher SPF represents diminishing returns as SPF 30 sunscreens already block 97 percent of UVB rays. While SPF does not specifically account for protection from UVA rays, as long as the sunscreen includes “broad spectrum” with its SPF rating, it should protect from UVA rays.
Gardner Plastic Surgery Offers Sun Protection
Gardner Plastic Surgery is a proud distributor of the complete line of Obagi Medical skin care system products, which includes Obagi Sun Shield Sunscreen. The sunscreen, part of Obagi’s “Nu-Derm®” “Obagi-C® Rx” systems for correcting and improving visible signs of skin aging, is a broad spectrum SPF 50 sunscreen perfect for all outside applications.
To learn more about how you can protect your skin from UV damage, or to determine corrective options for already damaged skin, contact Naples, Florida-Based Gardner Plastic Surgery today at 239.566.2611.