How Much Does the Sun Really Age Your Skin?

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Exposure to the sun’s UV rays causes most of the aging of your skin – more than all the factors combined. Yep, it’s all there – pigmentation, wrinkles, sun spots, reduced elasticity, poor skin texture and a whole host of other skin-aging signs.

Facts & Figures

Time and again, research has shown that around 80-90% of how old or young you look for your age is down to the amount of sun exposure you’ve had. The World Health Organization released a report, ‘Sun Protection: A Primary Teaching Resource’, dedicated entirely to educating people about the health risks of ultraviolet exposure, including sunburn, eye inflammation, skin cancer, tanning, cataracts and even the effects on your immune system. It certainly weakens the skin’s elasticity – by up to 90% – causing premature sagging, bags, wrinkles and easy bruising.

One study over the course of 11 years compared identical, 60-year old twins who had noticeable differences in sun exposure. The results showed a definite age difference in their appearance: the twin who had around 10 hours a week more exposure more than the other was seen as 11.25 years older. Yet another study showed that women with less exposure to the sun look 8-16 years younger than those with higher levels of exposure.

 

Every Skin Layer

Habitual exposure to the sun damages five main skin elements: the epidermis, dermis, blood vessels, sebaceous glands and melanocytes. Cumulatively, the damage is called dermatoheliosis. The effects of sun exposure are both cosmetic and medical. Cosmetic changes comprise skin leathering, wrinkle depth (particularly in the crow’s feet area), lip height, hair graying and skin reddening. Medical changes are an increased frequency of nonmelanoma and melanoma skin cancers, a tendency to bruising and irritation, and the development of many types of those charming keratoses – brown, tan or black non-cancerous skin growths that appear on the chest, face, back or shoulders of older adults.

 

Remember that even driving poses a risk, as UVA light penetrates a glass window causing photoaging. This means that you may have more aging on the side of your face that is next to the car window, due to repeated overexposure. So, you need skin protection even if you’re not lying in the sun or busy in the garden.

 

Avoid Skin Aging

Of course, external factors, including health, diet, lifestyle, smoking, exercise and environmental factors, also cause aging. But the facts and figures speak for themselves, with plenty of scientific proof that of all factors relating to skin aging, cumulative exposure to the sun is the most significant. Get that under control, and you’re on to a winner. It’s worth noting that this relates to all ethnic groups (although darker skin makes aging less noticeable and less susceptible to damage induced by the sun) and genetic backgrounds.

 

 

What Can You Do?

If you can’t avoid sun exposure altogether, at least protect yourself with a high SPF cream. If the damage is already done, you may be able to reverse some of the effects like fine lines and wrinkles, even without opting for invasive or other painful treatments. Sensica offers a simple solution: Sensilift™, a handheld device developed by medical esthetics experts that has the same technical abilities and results – firming up the skin, reducing lines, improving skin texture and appearance – achieved by salons and clinics. It is non-invasive and safe, and because you can use it yourself from home at your own convenience, the device suits busy lifestyles perfectly, while avoiding costly visits to clinics.

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