How do these rays affect our skin?

The epidermis, or upper layer, of skin is called the stratum corneum.

It is composed mainly of dead cells. Up to the age of 25, or thereabouts, these cells lie in an organised and neat fashion, rather like the tiles on a roof. This keeps the skin looking moist, translucent, smooth and finely textured.

As we age, the stratum corneum changes and dead cells are not shed at the same rate as before, leading to a thickening of the skin. Cells can develop in an abnormal and erratic fashion, removing the ordered, neat effect and causing the skin texture to appear less refined. Ultraviolet rays are the cause of this process.

The laser clinics australia dermis, or lower growing layer of skin, consists mainly of collagen and elastin. Exposure to UV causes breakdown of the bonds between the molecules and leads to production of “free radicals” which begin the process of damage.

The cells ability to reproduce normally and identically is impaired and collagen and elastin destruction lead to the formation of lines and wrinkles.

What can we do to protect our skin?

The way to diminish the effects of UV is, quite simply, to prevent as much of it actually reaching the skin as possible by using Sun Protection Factors.

There are two main types:

Chemical ones absorb the UV rays and lower the energy levels by releasing that energy as heat.

Non chemical ones reflect/scatter the UV rays. They are potentially less irritating to the skin. They are the most effective because they block both UVB and UVA. For an anti-ageing effect they are much more effective.

The most effective non-chemical blockers are:

Zinc Oxide

Titanium Dioxide

SPF ratings are often misunderstood    SPF 8 blocks up to 88%

SPF 20 blocks up to 93%

SPF 30 blocks up to 98%

Obviously, there is no benefit of a Factor 40, 50 or 60.

Current thinking is that it is better to apply a factor 15-30 every hour or two than a factor 30 every 3-4 hours, since doubling the factor doubles the concentration of chemicals and, with it, the potential skin irritation but does not double the protection. Also the SPF degrades the longer it is present on the skin.

“Waterproof” factors should still be protective in water for up to 80 mins.

“Water resistant” factors are good for only up to 40 mins.

Sunscreens designed for use on the body are not suitable for use on the face since they are usually chemical only in nature and are often combined with a photosensitiser. Designed to make the skin turn brown more quickly this creates an actual ageing effect on the face.

Most people do not use sufficient cream at a time- the average requirement for a body application is 1.3 ozs, whilst the average usage rate is only approx. 0.5 ozs.