How The Atmosphere Is Aging Our Skin
By Carolynn Grimes
When it comes to facial aging, the sun and the atmosphere is causing our skin to age faster, causing wrinkles and uneven skin pigmentation. Every time you step outside or drive your car, you’re susceptible to accelerating the aging process. It’s called atmospheric aging.
What is Atmospheric Aging?
New research shows overexposure to pollution is causing our skin to age prematurely by as much as 39 percent! According to recent studies, ozone pollution is quickly becoming one of the biggest contributors to aging skin. Scientists believe air pollutants are also causing an increase in allergic skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and acne.
We’ve known for a while; the sun is the biggest contributor to the aging process. In fact, research shows 80 to 90 percent of our aging is directly related to how much sun you’ve accumulated! The main signs of aging due to the sun are wrinkles, sagging skin or loss of elasticity, pigmentation issues and sunspots.
What You Can Do to Protect Yourself
The first place to start is with sunscreen says Dr. David McDaniel, a board-certified dermatologist from Virginia Beach, Virginia. McDaniel is the author of over 75 scientific articles and book chapters, primarily concentrating in the field of laser cosmetic surgery, antioxidants, and anti-aging medicine.
McDaniel, says, “Some of the new research is showing it’s no longer just about ultraviolet light. We all know that Ultraviolet B (UVB) are the burning rays, but what we didn’t know when most of us were growing up is the Ultraviolet A rays (UVA) are the rays that age us prematurely.”
UVA rays trigger free radicals that can cause discoloration and a breakdown of skin’s structural support. On the other hand, UVB rays damage the skin by causing sunburn.
“UVB is what the SPF number is for. If you see SPF 100, that’s telling you how much protection you have against the burning rays of the sun. However, SPF does not tell you about UVA rays,” states McDaniel.
Top 3 Tips for Sun Protection
1. Wear sunscreen every day. Find a sunscreen with a high SPF and Broad Spectrum and reapply often. Because sunscreen tends to be broken down over time by the sun and rubbed or washed off with sweating and water exposure, it should be reapplied at least every two hours outdoors, and immediately after swimming or heavy sweating.
2. The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends sunscreen should be applied a half hour before going outside so it has a chance to absorb and work. Apply sunscreen at the start of your day every day. Don’t try to apply around your clothes because you will inevitably miss a spot.
3. You can also protect yourself with clothing, sunglasses, and hats. Many clothing brands are now focusing on adding protection into the clothing itself. According to The Skin Cancer Foundation, a white cotton t-shirt only provides an ultraviolet protection factor UPF of 5-7. Many clothing lines now offer a UPF of 50+, blocking 98 percent of UVA and UVB rays!