I am sure that you have been taught that the sun is damaging to your skin but, actually, that is not the true story.
The truth is that certain types of light are damaging to your skin, and it just so happens that the sun provides these damaging light wavelengths.
Sunlight is classified into three different types, based on its wavelength: UVA UVB UVC
UVC light is of no practical importance for the skin, as it never reaches earth. UVC light is filtered out
by the upper atmosphere ozone.
UVB light, on the other hand, is only partially filtered by the ozone. Clouds form a second layer of
protection against UVB light, however, on sunny days, we all run the risk of UVB exposure. UVB is the
sunlight that causes sunburn. While sunburn is painful and irritating to the skin, today, scientists know that it is not very damaging in the long run. In truth, other than temporarily robbing the skin of some moisture, UVB light and sunburn appear to have only minor, negative effects on the skin. If you are going to be in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time, it is prudent to wear a good SPF rated
sunscreen or sunblock product, however, the purpose in this will be to avoid sunburn and not to
avoid increasing your risk of skin cancer or avoiding the effects of “photo-aging” caused by the sun.
UVA light is where the real damage occurs. UVA light is especially scary as there is no way for the
atmosphere to block it. UVA passes, full strength, through ozone, clouds, haze, etc. It will collide with
your skin on cloudy or rainy days, on winter days, while driving in the car, or just sitting by a window
inside your home. It will reflect off surfaces so it can even hit your face when you are wearing protec-
tive clothing such as hats or sunglasses. Further UVA light attacks your skin from light sources other
than the sun. For example, UVA radiation reaches your skin from computer screens, halogen lights
and even overhead florescent bulbs. If all this is not bad enough, the damage from UVA is irreversible.
UVA light is now proven to cause premature facial aging (photo-aging), wrinkles, skin damage as well
as skin cancers. For years, we have all known about sunlight and skin cancer, we just had the wrong
UV culprit. What we haven’t known, however, was the incredible acceleration effect that UVA sunlight
has on aging. Recently, the Federal Government itself stated that up to 90% of the visible skin chang-
es commonly attributed to aging are caused by exposure to sunlight, which scientists are now aware is actually UVA light.
Although we all love the sun, not to mention daylight, if you are serious about preventing wrinkles
and, in fact, improving wrinkled skin, you have to use a sunscreen on your face. It’s that simple.
Don’t panic and stay indoors...just wear the sunscreen every day, always.
Here is the catch.....most sunscreens don’t protect your face or your body from the harmful, aging
effects of UVA light. Most all sunscreens, even the SPF 15 and higher products you have been taught
to buy, only block UVB light. They are useless against UVA light. Useless, as in no protection at all!
For protection against sunlight related skin damage, you must use a UVA sunscreen. Unfortunately,
rarely on the market do you see products labeled specifically as UVA sunscreens. You need to deter-
mine the effectiveness of the product, yourself, by looking at the ingredient list. Forget SPF ratings
unless you work or play in direct sunlight for hours at a time and, instead, look for a UVA screen con-
taining any of the following main UVA blockers:
1. Avobenzone (also called Parsol 1789)
2. Mexoryl® SX (terephtalylidene dicamphor sulfonic acid)
4. Tintanium Dioxide
5. Zinc Oxide
Only buy a product that contains one of these ingredients. If you buy any other type of product you
are protecting yourself from sunburn but are not protecting yourself from wrinkling or sun damage.
In truth, however, I would look for products containing Avobenzone (also called Parsol 1789 or some-
times appearing on a label as butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane), which is approved for use by the
FDA and also sheer in composition.
While many people suggest combination products containing both UVA and UVB protecting prod-
ucts, from a practical standpoint for day to day use, when you are not going to be in direct sunlight, a
UVA protective product is probably the easiest and most helpful.
While sunscreens will help to delay the onset of wrinkles and help to keep wrinkling to a minimum,
remember, no one can avoid wrinkles. They are an inevitable part of the aging process.
Published by Sadie