UV Light and Photo-aging

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Ultraviolet light is everywhere! A small amount of UV light is essential in our skin’s production of vitamin D. However, prolonged exposure may result in acute and chronic health effects on your skin. We’ve all experienced sunburns, but over the long term, radiation from UV light causes degenerative changes in skin cells leading to premature skin aging. This is what doctors refer to as photo-aging.

Recent studies have shown that many of the symptoms commonly associated with ordinary aging (i.e. wrinkles and darkspots) may instead be related to UV exposure. Your tan may look good now, but you could be paying your dues in wrinkles later.

We’ve compiled some suggestions to decrease your risk of photo-aging

• Avoid prolonged exposure to sunlight. Radiation from UV light is strongest between 10am and 4pm, so it’s best to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun during this time. This doesn’t mean you have to stay inside all day, how boring! But it could be beneficial to keep this in mind while gardening on Saturdays.

• Wear protective clothing when you are in the sun. If you can’t avoid exposure to the sun, wear clothing, hats and sunglasses. All fabrics protect from UV radiation to some degree. However, clothing that does the best carries an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating.

• Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that will protect against all types of UV rays. Also remember that wearing a sunscreen with a higher SPF won’t allow you to stay out longer. SPF stands for sun protection factor, referring to the amount of protection from UV light the sunscreen offers. This means you should choose your SPF number based off of your skin type. Fair skin requires a higher SPF than regular skin. Last, try applying and reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours.

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