Reducing UV Sun Exposure to Reduce Skin Aging

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Reducing the levels of UV light reaching the skin, (sun screens, avoiding sunlight at peak strength i.e. noon) reduces photoaging. You may reasonably suggest that the best way to halt photoaging is to stay out of the sun or use sunblock always. However, in practice it is not possible to stay out of the sun because we all need to go out sometime for instance to work or school and more importantly to remain healthy your body requires sun exposure to produce Vitamin D. Therefore you cannot constantly wear sunblock, stay indoors  or cover your skin to prevent sunlight exposure.

Why do I Need Sunlight Exposure on My Skin to Increase My Vitamin D Levels?

Vitamin D has been reported to be essential for skin health, as well as for the health of your nervous system and bone metabolism. Vitamin D has been shown to improve the skin appearance by increasing the number of keratinocytes (skin cells) along with regulating the hormones that control the numbers, size and function of skin cells. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to bone disease (rickets), cancer (colorectal cancer), autoimmune disease, infectious disease (Vitamin D may increase the ability of cells of the immune system to kill bacteria and may stimulate the release of anti-microbial molecules) and cardiovascular disease (Vitamin D regulates your cholesterol levels).

90% of your bodies total vitamin D supply is formed within your skin. Vitamin D can only be synthesized by your skin or taken as a food source. Vitamin D is made within your skin after exposure to sunlight (termed photobiosynthesis) and is stored as a supply to last over the winter months when sunlight intensity and exposure times are inadequate to enable your skin to synthesize vitamin D. Your body can make 10,000 IU or 0.25mg (a single IU = 0.025 µg) per day in strong sunlight, that is specifically from exposure to UV light in the range 290-315nm.

Vitamin D may be gained from your diet by eating specific foods, for example salmon, tuna, milk, eggs and liver. It is recommended that we need between 400-800 IU of vitamin D per day and this increases as we age. 600 IU to 2000 IU of Vitamin D is needed in old age to maintain bone function i.e. strength.

How Can Changing My Diet and Skin Care Routine (To Include Vitamin D and Antioxidants) Reduce Skin Aging?

The use of antioxidants and retinoids that have antioxidant properties stop collagenases (enzymes that break collagen) and stimulate the production of collagen. This reduces free radicals and consequently reduces inflammation. Free radicals stimulate inflammation within the skin by acting on keratinocytes (skin cells of the outer skin layer) and dermal cells (cells deeper within the skin layers). Antioxidants are found

  • as vitamins (A and C)
  • in the bark of the French maritime pine plant,
  • within fruit and vegetables.

Combination of ingested or topical cream application of retinoids, antioxidants (tretinoin, isotretinoin, retinaldehyde, tazarotene) and protection from the UV rays of sunlight will all help to prevent damage to your skin.

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