Beauty is More Than Skin Deep
It isn't a secret that overexposure to the sun can cause wrinkles, sun spots, freckles, mole change, and skin cancer, but do you ever wonder exactly why this reaction occurs?
UVA & UVB rays are the two ultriviolet rays that have the most affect on our skin, with UVA affecting the deepest. All biological structures are composed of molecules which are composed of atoms, held together by energy bonds. For light to have affect on a chemical structure, it must be able to unite with that compound. For example, the major target in the skin for UV light is the DNA molecule.
When a ray of UVB light hits a certain molecular structure in the dermis (the outer layer of skin), it will have 1 of 3 effects. Extra energy, which will be dissipated as heat. It may also be irradiated as light at a lower energy. Both of these will allow the molecule to return to its natural state when the energy disappears. But the third method is different. The molecule will undergo a change in molecular structure to absorb the extra energy. This is harmful because it may alter the structure so much so it becomes abnormal, essentially making it a different compound.
The depth of penetration depends on the type of wavelength of the UV. UVB light will affect mainly tissues and cells in the epidermis, while UVA affects more with dermal structures (deeper layers of skin). The high energy of UV light will interact with many complex proteins in the skin. Proteins are made up of amino acids and naturally cross link and coil into certain configuations that are critical for the protein to function properly. Anything that changes this function will, in essence, corrupt the protein.
The best way to prevent sun damage is to stay out of the sun, specifically during peak hours from 10 am to 2 pm. Titanium Disside and zinc oxide are the two main ingredients for adequate protection from the sun, but even these ingredients have been known to react with DNA in the skin. Vitamin C, Vitamin E and green tea are great for helping protect us from harmful effects of the UV light, internally and externally.
"Apart from the wrinkles and spots, let us not forget the true wonderous function of our skin, the role it plays in our very survival... when you know better, you do better."
- Patti Pugliese, LE