Are You Sun Wise?

by Josue Tavorn

What most people do not realise is that the biggest factor in the aging process is ultraviolet light. Doctors now believe that up to 95% of damage is due to light, hence the term “Photo-aging”, and that we could look largely the same in our 60’s as we do in our 30’s if the skin was constantly shielded from light.

Facts we need to know

In children under 18 years of age it takes just one incidence of sunburn to double the risk of skin cancer in later life.

Good use of sun protection factors {SPF} ipl treatment brisbane up to the age of 18, however, can reduce the risk by 80%. One in every 75 children born this year will develop malignant melanoma. Most people who do use SPF’s use inadequate quantities or the incorrect kind. It can take 10 to 20 years for damage to manifest itself.

So what exactly is Ultraviolet radiation?

Ultraviolet light rays are divided into three different types, according to the length of the rays. All of these rays are invisible.

UVC 200-290 nanometres

These are the shortest wavelength and most highly energetic of the sun’s rays. Currently there are no SPF’s available to screen these rays, but, at present, they are largely screened out by the Ozone layer.

UVB 290-320 nanometres

These are medium length and medium energy rays. SPF listings relate to protection offered against these rays. They are mainly present from 10am-4pm. They penetrate only into the epidermis, or uppermost layer, of skin. They stimulate melanin production- therefore they cause us to “tan.” They are linked to the formation of Basal cell and Squamous cell carcinomas. They can cause skin swelling, redness, itching and are associated with development of cataracts in the eye. They stimulate keratinocyte production- leading to thickened, horny looking skin. They are 1000 times stronger than UVA rays.

UVA 320-400 nanometres

These rays are what we recognise as daylight. They are long wave and low energy rays. They are present from sunrise to sunset. They penetrate right through the outer layer of skin to the dermis, or growing layer, of skin. They break down collagen and elastin in the skin. They damage cell DNA and are associated with skin cancers. They destroy the skins natural defences by damaging the immune system. They turn melanin darker. They cause hyperpigmentation problems and thread veins. They are 1000 times more prevalent than UVB rays. They penetrate glass and are also given out by VDU screens and artificial lights. They cause what we recognise as “ageing”.