How UV Rays Damage Skin


People diagnosed with skin cancer often ask
– why did I get skin cancer, and what can I do to prevent my children from getting skin
cancer? Those are excellent questions. For you to know how to prevent skin ageing
and skin cancer, you need to know about the dark side of the sun. Today I want to share with you a deep dive
into how the sun can accelerate skin ageing and also increase the risk of skin cancer. When sunlight reaches the earth’s surface,
it is made up of three main types of radiation. Infrared radiation is what gives sunlight
its warmth. Visible light helps us see. And then there’s UV light – a types of
radiation that we can’t feel or see. When it comes to the damaging effects of sunlight,
UV is a major culprit. There are 2 types of UV that reach us on earth’s
surface: UVA and UVB. Both types of UV can damage the skin, but
in slightly different ways. Of the two, UVB is the most damaging form
of UV radiation – it causes sunburns and increases the risk of skin cancer. The upper layer of the skin is called the
epidermis. Visible light from the sun is reflected off
the epidermis, but UVB penetrates into it. In the epidermis, UVB reacts with the DNA
of cells and causes DNA damage. Our skin cells are able to repair DNA damage,
but with time, if enough DNA damage accumulates, skin cancer can form. In the epidermis, there are cells called melanocytes. When skin cells are damaged by UV, melanocytes
release a dark pigment called melanin. Melanin is able to absorb UV light, and so
the body uses melanin as a kind of UV shield. But melanin isn’t able to completely stop
skin damage from UVB. A skin tan is actually a sign that skin damage
has already occurred, and the body is preparing itself for further UV exposure. In a sunburn, UVB causes so much damage that
the skin cells die and the upper layer of the skin peels off. The death of cells also triggers inflammation,
making the skin red, hot and painful to touch. UVA can also increase the risk of skin cancer
but mostly it is involved in accelerating skin ageing. UVA is able to infiltrate down to the deep
layer of the skin, called the dermis. The dermis has a scaffolding of molecules
such as collagen that makes your skin elastic. When you pull on your skin, it is this scaffolding
that helps your skin spring back. UVA damages this collagen scaffolding. This makes your skin more prone to wrinkling
and sagging. It’s not all bad news though. We know that sunlight in moderate amounts
is helpful for making Vitamin D and that’s what I talked about in my last video. Also, UV light prescribed by doctors can be
helpful for immune based skin conditions like psoriasis. So in healthy doses, sunlight can be good
for you, but how do you protect yourself from the damaging effects of excess UV. Well in my next video, I’m going to share
with you my 4 step process to help you choose the right sunscreen for your skin. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in
the next one

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