So, what’s the best way to protect your skin and reverse the effects of the sun? Let’s first take a closer look at your skin to understand what happens.
Ultraviolet (UV) and other types of light enter your skin as packages of energy called photons. The photons are absorbed by different substances in your skin—including melaninMelanin is the pigment that gives the skin, hair and iris of the eyes their colour. Individuals with darker skin, have higher amounts of melanin…. and nutrients like retinyl palmitate (vitamin A) and vitamin CWhat it does: Strengthens immune system – fights infections. Makes collagen, keeping bones, skin and joints firm and strong. Antioxidant, detoxifying pollutants and protecting against…. In fact, the nutrients in your skin sacrifice themselves every day to the sun. UVA rays damage the vitamin A, while UVB rays damage DNA and blue light waves damage vitamin C. Light also creates free radicalsFree radicals are molecules produced when the body breaks down food or by environmental exposure to things like cigarette smoke, pollution and radiation. Free radicals… in your skin which, if not disarmed by antioxidants, will further damage DNA.
What you see as ageing skin is really the result of DNA damage to different kinds of skin cells. The cells on the outside of your skin, called keratinocytes, develop into keratoses (skin lesions) that may become cancerous. The outer layer of your skin becomes thinner, providing less protection to layers underneath. Cells called melanocytes multiply, creating those dark spots. Deeper down, damaged fibroblasts produce less collagen, which means wrinkles and saggy skin.
The Key to Protection
Of all the nutrients you take in, vitamin A is by far the most important for your skin. This nutrient helps control the rate of keratin accumulation in your skin and normalises DNA, which results in healthy cells that function better. It also improves collagen and elastin production (helping skin stay plump and supple), aids in normal pigment control, and repairs old damage.
UVA light can go through clouds and glass, so there’s no avoiding it. Strong sun exposure causes you to lose as much as 70-90 percent of the vitamin A in your skin, and it usually takes days to restore these levels. However, you can replenish vitamin A levels in a few hours if you apply it directly to the skin. Topical vitamin A has also been shown to reverse most of the signs of skin ageing. It is also good to both supplement it in a high strength multivitamin and to eat fish and vegetables, especially carrots, high in the vitamin A precursor, beta-carotene.
Vitamins C and E work as antioxidants. Vitamin EWhat it does: Acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage, including against cancer. Helps body use oxygen, preventing blood clots, thrombosis, atherosclerosis. Improves wound… is a fat-soluble antioxidantAntioxidants are substances that protect cells within the body from damage caused by free radicals. They help to strengthen the body’s ability to fight infection…, but vitamin C is water-soluble. That means it’s not stored in your skin and has to be delivered every day via your diet and bloodstream. Vitamin C is also used to make collagen.
So, the key to protecting your skin and reversing the signs of photo-ageing is to keep vitamin A and other nutrients at optimum levels while reducing the amount of UVA that gets through. That means using a daily skin cream that contains vitamin A, C, and E, plus a good sunscreen.
The most effective sunscreens are the sunblocks zincWhat it does: Component of over 200 enzymes in the body, essential for growth, important for healing, controls hormones, aids ability to cope with stress… oxide and titanium dioxide, which reflect the sun. The organic sunscreens methoxycinnamate (protects against UVB rays) and methoxydibenzolmethane (protects against UVA rays) are sufficient if you’re not going to be in particularly strong sunlight. Since no sunscreen is...
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