With the fabulous summer months upon us, I’m sure you’ve heard everyone screaming SPF, but let’s talk about why protecting your skin from the sun is so important!
We all want to be young and beautiful forever, right? But sun exposure is the main environmental factor that causes both premature aging and photoaging. The structure and function of the epidermis, basement membrane and dermis are all impacted as a result of the ultraviolet (UV) component of sunlight. The basement membrane is the bottom layer of the epidermis, important for healthy new cells to be produced as well as signalling between the dermis and epidermis. With repeated UV exposure, the basement membrane is damaged, impacting both layers of the skin and increasing the risk of skin cancers through cellular DNA damage. Changes also occur to the elastin fibres within our dermis; think thick, dry and “leathery” skin, that’s solar elastosis! Chronic UV exposure, results in the accumulation of abnormal and unhealthy elastin, combined with an increase in the breakdown of collagen wrinkles, sagging and textural changes are seen. Responsible and super-duper important for giving our skin the morphology and structure is has, Collagen is broken down by a cheeky enzyme or Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs), called collagenase. An increase in the production of MMPs are stimulated by UV and they are also responsible for the release of inflammatory mediator and oxidative stress, further damaging our cells, cellular DNA and aggravating many skin conditions.
What about that beautiful summer tan?! Although bronzed, sun kissed skin gives the illusion of being healthy and happy or a great holiday, your skin is actually telling you how unhappy it is! While everything we talked about above is occuring, the tan or pigment your skin is producing is a protective mechanism to the UV exposure. UV also stimulates the production of another cheeky enzyme, tyrosinase, responsible for the production of melanin. Within the pigment producing cells, melanocytes, melanin is packaged into little parcels and are passed form the melanocyte to our skin cells, once there, melanin covers the DNA in the hopes to protect from further damage. Chronic UV exposure increases and redistributes this process over time. A tan isn’t the only pigment changes that can occur in the skin, UV exposure also increases other pigment conditions including freckles, melasma and solar lentigos (sunspots).
Sunburn doesn’t need to occur for the damage to have happened, a tan should be warning enough that you may be seeing a little bit too much sun and that damage is occurring deeper down! All of these changes can accumulate over time and may not be seen straight away, for this reason, prevention is key.
While it’s not all sad news, a custom skin care routine full of MMP and tyrosinase inhibiting, collagen synthesising, antioxidant ingredients can help repair and rebuild your skin. SPF is your best friend and an in-clinic skin workout will have your skin health in check.
So remember, slip, slop, slap, wrap and a great spray tan is key this summer!