Finally, summer is here! Our beautiful city of Calgary actually boasts the most hours of sunlight all year round in comparison to all other major Canadian cities. While it’s awesome to live in a place that brings on the brightness rather than gloomy doomy grey skies, excessive sun exposure can cause problems for our skin.
The sun ages us. Unprotected skin exposed to UVA and UVB rays is susceptible to wrinkles, skin discolouration, brown sun/age spots, rough patches, and sagging – all characteristics associated with the visible signs of aging. In addition to prematurely aging our skin, UV rays can also weaken our immune system and can lead to the development of cataracts.
So yeah, when your mother/friend/dermatologist/aesthetician tells you to wear sunscreen – listen up!
The Structure of The Skin
Our skin is composed of three layers: the epidermis – the outermost layer; the dermis – the middle layer; and the subcutis – the basement layer if you will. The dermis contains collagen, elastic tissues and other fibres that work together to support our skin’s structure. It is these elements that give our skin its smooth and youthful appearance.
When exposed to UVA and UVB rays, cells in the dermis scramble in an effort to produce melanin for the epidermis. This process is what gives the skin a tan, but really what is happening is the skin is attempting to block the radiation from penetrating deeper.
The Difference Between UVA & UVB Rays
UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin’s thickest layer and thus play a major role in skin aging and wrinkling. UVA rays can be thought of as ‘aging rays’ as these prematurely age the skin - causing sunspots and wrinkles to form. These rays can penetrate through clouds and window glass and are present all-year round, so long as the sun is shining – even in the winter. Hence, the importance of wearing sunscreen daily, even if you are just at home! (Unless you feel like drawing up all your blinds and not being able to view the outside world on a sunny day!)
UVB rays, on the other hand, can be thought of as ‘burning’ rays as it is these rays which are the primary cause of damage to the surface epidermal layer and cause sunburn. UVB rays also play a key role in the development of skin cancer. These rays can be filtered through window glass and only account for 5-10% of solar radiation, however, because of their intensity and ability to ‘burn’ the skin, they can cause progressive damage over time.
Why Wear Sunscreen – All day, Everyday
Fortunately, wearing a broad-spectrum sunscreen daily can prevent the aforementioned effects caused by UV exposure. A study published by the American College of Physicians’ Annals of Internal Medicine conclusively showed that sunscreen can help to prevent photoaging, i.e. premature aging caused by sun exposure. Although, significant indirect evidence has pointed to sunscreen’s anti-aging benefits in the past, this study is the first clinical human trial to show this as true.
Researchers compared the skin of 900 men and women from Australia over a four-year period to study the effect of daily sunscreen use and aging. They found that those who wore sunscreen daily showed significantly less wrinkles and dark spots after 4.5 years than those participants who did not use sunscreen regularly. Daily sunscreen use slows the skin from aging!
Classic Sunscreen vs Mineral Sunscreen
Classic and mineral sunscreen both provide protection against UV rays but, what differentiates them from each other is the active sun protection ingredients they contain. Where classic sunscreen uses chemical active ingredients that absorb and dissipate UVA/UVB rays, Mineral sunscreen uses mineral active ingredients particularly Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide to scatter and reflect UVA/UVB rays.
Daily use of a broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or higher will reduce aging caused by sun damage. So, don’t skimp out on this VITAL step in your anti-aging skincare routine.
Sculpt Calgary is committed to helping you achieve healthy, beautiful and youthful skin. From facials to fillers, peels, and specialty skin care products, we have everything you need to keep your skin looking radiant and fabulous. Contact us today to book a consultation with one of our skincare specialists or for details on how we can help you keep your skin looking its best.