With summer upon us, skin damage from unprotected exposure to the sun can occur. Here are some simple steps to prevent sun damage and photoaging.
Broad spectrum, physical blocker sunscreens with zinc oxide or titanium oxide with 30 or higher SPF are best. You should overapply liquid sunscreen, not sprays, including sides of face, ears, front and back of neck, hands and arms and any other skin that is exposed. New powder sunscreens make it easier to reapply - even over makeup - during the day. Try to reapply every two hours if there is a lot of sunlight in your office or workplace. A common misconception is that using multiple products with sunscreen, such as a moisturizer and makeup, provides double the protection, which isn’t true. In fact, some sunscreen ingredients can deactivate others.
There is also scientific evidence that certain supplements may help decrease the effects of UV radiation on the skin. Polypodium leucotomos, which is derived from a Central and South American fern, has been studied in Europe. A daily dose of 240 milligrams as an oral supplement is considered safe. Niacinamide - one of the B vitamins - is also considered safe at doses of 500 milligrams taken twice a day. “The highest level of concern is usually during the summer months, but sun damage can occur year-round, even on cloudy or rainy days,” says Sarah L. Taylor, M.D., assistant professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. “In fact, many people don’t realize that you also get sun exposure through windows at the office, at home or in cars, which is why dermatologists recommend that everyone wear broad-spectrum sunscreen every day, all year. People may also want to use prescription retinoids to treat the signs of photoaging. Differin, which is less irritating and much less expensive than other retinoids, is now available over the counter.”
A Better Protecting Sunscreen
A molecule that protects plants from overexposure to harmful sunlight could form the basis for a new longer-lasting sunscreen, says chemists at the University of Warwick along with colleagues in France and Spain. Research on the green molecule by the scientists has revealed that it absorbs ultraviolet light and then disperses it in a “flamenco-style” dance, making it ideal for use as a UV filter in sunscreens. The team of scientists report in the journal Nature Communications that, as well as being plant-inspired, this molecule is also among a small number of suitable substances that are effective in absorbing light in the Ultraviolet A (UVA) region of wavelengths. This opens up the possibility of developing a naturally-derived and eco-friendly sunscreen that protects against the full range of harmful wavelengths of light from the sun.
The researchers tested a molecule called diethyl sinapate, a close mimic to a molecule that is commonly found in the leaves of plants, which is responsible for protecting them from overexposure to UV light while they absorb visible light for photosynthesis. They first exposed the molecule to a number of different solvents to determine whether that had any impact on its light-absorbing behavior. They then deposited a sample of the molecule on an industry-standard human skin mimic where it was irradiated with different wavelengths of UV light. They used the state-of-the-art laser facilities within the Warwick Centre for Ultrafast Spectroscopy to take images of the molecule at extremely high speeds, to observe what happens to the light’s energy when it’s absorbed in the molecule in the very early stages.
Other techniques were also used to establish longer term properties of diethyl sinapate, such as endocrine disruption activity and antioxidant potential. When irradiated, the molecule absorbs light and goes into an excited state, but that energy then has to be disposed of somehow. The team of researchers observed that it does a kind of molecular dance a mere 10 picoseconds long: a twist in a similar fashion to the filigranas and floreos hand movements of flamenco dancers. That causes it to come back to its original ground state and convert that energy into vibrational energy, or heat. It is this flamenco dance that gives the molecule its long-lasting qualities. When the scientists bombarded the molecule with UVA light they found that it degraded only three percent over two hours, compared to the industry requirement of 30 percent. “We have shown that by studying the molecular dance on such a short time-scale, the information that you gain can have tremendous repercussions on how you design future sunscreens,” says Dr. Michael Horbury, a Postgraduate Research Fellow at The University Warwick and now at the University of Leeds. “The next step would be to test it on human skin, then to mix it with other ingredients that you find in a sunscreen to see how those affect its characteristics.”
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With over 30 years of writing and editing experience for newspapers, magazines and corporate communications, Kevin Kerfoot writes about natural health, nutrition, skincare and oral hygiene for Trusted Health Products’ natural health blog and newsletters.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.