Sun Exposure – Good Or Bad?
It would be no surprise to most people that sun exposure can damage the skin. What is the right amount of sun exposure is a tough question, as we know that so many people are deficient of Vitamin D, which is synthesized with sun exposure.
To test the effect of sun exposure and aging, one study took biopsy specimens of sun-protected skin from the back plus skin from severely and moderately protected areas of the skin, from the face and forearms. 2 Specimens were taken from 3 age groups : 1-27 year olds, 31 -56 year olds and 61-100 year old people. What they found was that with aging, there were deposits of amyloid P on the elastic fibers which can contribute to their degeneration. With sun exposure, they found higher amounts of the immune reactive enzyme, lysozyme.
What this means is that both natural aging processes and/or sun exposure can cause structural alterations to the skin. Exposure to UV has been found to diminish levels are antioxidants in the skin. Antioxidants are vital nutrients needed to control free radical damage and diminish the production of damaging mutant genes in the skin cells.
Another study looked at the affects of UVA and UVB on the skin. It found that UVB played a greater role than UVA in the development of solar elastosis (the breakdown of elastic tissue that results in degeneration of connective tissue) and photoaging of the skin.
A good way to avoid excessive aging in relation to sun exposure is to cover the areas of the body that are most likely to show the signs of aging such as the face. A maximum of 20 minutes sun exposure per day is recommended for adequate vitamin D
production, however this will vary from one person to another according to individual factors such skin colour, ethnicity, history of skin disorders and in different climatic regions. Wearing some type of UV protectant can also be of benefit where there are longer periods of sun exposure.
By supplying the skin with additional antioxidants, some of the effects of aging can be reversed and skin appearance improved.