Read the theory below or jump straight to our recommended sunblocks and no toxic-chemical suncreens (click here).
Too much is not a good thing if you are concerned about ageing.
Feeling the warmth of the sun on our backs generally makes us feel good about the world. Sunlight also provides us with Vitamin D, an essential part of helping our body to function effectively and healthily. There is currently a lot of research happening regarding the importance of Vitamin D in our body, and many scientists are actually saying it has more relevance to our overall health than the prevention of skin cancers and the slowing of the visable signs of aging.
However, you are probably reading this because you are concerned about what you see in the mirror every day, or because you wish to assist your skin to age more slowly whilst still receiving your daily dose of Vitamin D. It’s a difficult choice, or so it seems. I look at it this way: sunlight is the thing that causes our skin to age more quickly, so why not avoid it? Let other areas of your body soak in the Vitamin D.
What does sunlight do in our skin?
Sunlight contains different UV light and these are able to penetrate the skin. There are different types of UV light (ultraviolet); the UVBs turn us red and are active in the top layers of the skin; the UVAs penetrate deeper with the ability to causes damage in our dermis, which is where everything is alive in our skin. We can only guess when this has happened, as they don’t cause us to turn red. This can happen any time, not just when we are sunbaking or using a solarium, but anytime you are outdoors – at work, when walking, gardening or playing sport.
The cells in our skin which have been exposed to the UVAs may change via a process called oxidation, which we can liken to rust. Over time, this causes long term damage to where the new cells are made, so each new cell, being a replica of the last one, is damaged and what you see eventually in the mirror is the result of this: photo, sun damaged skin or premature ageing; fine lines, wrinkles, blemishes, uneven tone, dry and dehydrated skin. These abnormal cells are now known as free radicals (I call them the baddies!).
Damaged cells have changed DNA, and although there is dermal-cell turnover every 21 days, the new cells are also damaged.
The domino effect begins
An increase in cell death causes the dermis to be thinned and a decrease in the amounts of collagen and elastin holding everything together. This leads to a decrease in the water-holding capacity both in and around the cells and so your skin becomes:
- Thinner at first and then appears thicker with more sun damage. This is the leathery look from the buildup of the keratin layer as the body tries to protect itself from more damage.
- Coarse, dry, loose and saggy as the collagen layer thins.
- Pigmented with uneven tone and darkened areas as increased amounts of melanin are produced as the cells try to naturally protect themselves.
- Wrinkly as damage causes cell renewal to slow even more than with the natural ageing process.
- Lined with visible capillaries as the smallest blood vessels become deformed and are more visible from thinning of the skin.
- More likely to develop skin cancers of all varieties.
Did you know that having healthy skin on the inside slows the visible signs of aging on the outside?
How do you slow UV damage and the visible signs of aging?
Avoid exposure – whatever the season and the weather:
- Slip, slop, slap.
- Avoid outside activities during the middle of the day.
- Eat well, drink lots of water, don’t smoke and limit your alcohol intake.
- Choose to use sunblocks rather than sunscreens. Sunblocks act like a barrier to the sun’s rays. They adhere to the skin’s surface and reflect the rays away from the skin rather than absorbing them. They are more water resistant, less allergenic and won’t clog pores. SPF is actually determined by a mathematical equation relating to the time taken for a chemical sunscreen to absorb UV light in the skin, so sunblocks cannot be given an SPF. Their equivalent is SPF 30+. Sunblocks usually contain some or all of these ingredients:
- titanium dioxide
- zinc oxide
- zirconium oxide
- Avoid chemical sunscreens. Chemical sunscreens absorb UV light within the skin and carry the chemicals in the bloodstream; they have been found up to 72 hours after application in the liver and may actually increase the rate at which your skin ages. Chemical sunscreens may contain any of these ingredients:
- para-aminobenzoic acid (paba)
- octyl methoxycinnamate
- butyl methoxydibenzoylmethane
- Use the best possible skin care products you can find. To improve your skin health, use a skin care regime that includes safe, nourishing, transdermal (able to penetrate) serums and creams that are based on topical stabilised antioxidants and Vitamin A; medical strength, with no nasties, fragrance-free and well researched. Hats and SPF every day.
- Add antioxidant serums containing Vitamin C to provide added protection where it’s needed against UV damage. If you use the Osmosis MD range please add Catalyst AC11 and Stemfactor for even more protection.
Our sunblocks and no toxic-chemical suncreens
- CosMedix Reflect Spray-on moisturising sun block. Men, sports people, oily skins and teens love this.
- CosMedix Hydrate+. Drier, mature skins. It’s light and surprisingly, a brillaint hydrating moisturiser.
- Aspect Dr Dry Touch Envirostat 50+; our only chemical SPF but has NO nasties. Great for all skins, but the teens and oily-prone especially love it.
- Aspect Dr Hydra Shield. Light and moisturising for combination skin.
- Osmosis MD Protect; general sunblock for all skins.
- Osmosis Colour CC Cream along with all the make-up in this range. Many makeups contain sufficient UV protection for office/inside use, however when outside a physical block is imperative if you are concerned about your skin.
- ColoreScience Even Up SPF 50: a liquid foundation which is gorgeous on uneven, dryer skins; covers whilst it treats.
- All the Sunforgettable range; liquid, powders, setting mist and lip shines in three colours SPF 35.