Help decrease the risk of early skin aging caused by the sun

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Understanding the impact of UVA vs UVB rays on your skin

Spending time in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer and early skin aging. Both UVB and UVA rays can damage your skin. UVB rays are primarily responsible for sunburn and reflect off of surfaces, like snow, ice, sand, and water. UVA rays are primarily responsible for skin aging (wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin) and can penetrate glass and clouds

How can you help decrease the risk of early skin aging caused by the sun’s UVA & UVB rays?

Regularly use a sunscreen with a broad-spectrum SPF value of 15 or higher, along with other sun protection measures, including:

  • Limit time in the sun, especially from 10 AM-2 PM
  • Wear long-sleeve shirts, pants, hats, and sunglasses
  • Apply sunscreen liberally 15 minutes before sun exposure
  • Reapply at least every 2 hours, immediately after towel drying, and if using a water-resistant sunscreen, after 40 or 80 minutes of swimming or sweating

What are free radicals and what causes them to form?

Oxidation is what causes fruit to turn brown.

Free radicals are reactive compounds generated by chemical reactions in the body. Sunlight is a primary trigger of free radicals; 80% of free radicals are formed due to UV rays. Other external and internal factors, such as smoke, alcohol, and some processed foods, can contribute to free radical generation as well. The increase of free radicals in the skin can contribute to premature skin aging.

The brown color seen on a cut apple, for example, is a result of oxidation caused by free radicals. A similar process takes place in our skin, but over the course of decades rather than minutes. 

How can I help reduce free radicals in the skin?

A healthy, balanced diet rich in antioxidants is good for skin

Normally, the body keeps free radicals in check by using antioxidants to neutralize them. If too many free radicals are generated, the system is overloaded, which can contribute to the development of early skin aging, including fine lines and wrinkles.

You can help reduce this free radical generation by wearing a sunscreen* with a broad-spectrum SPF value of 15 or higher every day, and eating a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet that includes fruit, vegetables, beans, nuts, and oily fish (like salmon or tuna). 

*Use and reapply as directed. 

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