As much as I am a skin lover I am also a sun lover and finding the right balance between the two is no easy feat. Constantly torn between wanting to don that summertime glow whilst combatting sun damage, can it be done? If we compare it to my mission to lose weight but constantly eating cake then no! Fortunately for me I have more will power when it comes to my skin.
The sun with its plethora of health benefits such as boosting serotonin, increasing Vitamin D levels and reducing aches and pains comes with a long list of negatives for the health and condition of the skin. Damage caused by the sun can range in severity from blemishes, discolouration and premature ageing – all deemed as cosmetic conditions - to life threatening skin cancer.
Photo-ageing caused by UV light from the sun can cause both short-term and lifelong damage to the skin. In fact, studies have shown that the effects of sunlight on the skin are profound and are estimated to account for up to 90% of visible skin ageing *, particularly in those without the natural protection associated with higher levels of melanocytes in the skin.
The three types of UV rays impact the skin in different ways. Until recently, UVA was not considered to have any effect on the skin at all, however upon further research it has been discovered that this form penetrates deep into the dermis of the skin and may be largely responsible for accelerated ageing rates. UVB damage is mainly seen on the surface of the skin and affects the epidermal layer; it is responsible for the mild or severe redness that appears when sunburn occurs. UVC rays are blocked by the ozone layer and absorbed by the Earth’s atmosphere. These rays would be extremely dangerous to the skin if they were ever to make contact with it.
UV exposure creates many negative effects that happen to the skin whether they are visible or unnoticeable within the skin. An immediate reaction to excessive exposure to the sun's rays would be an erythema (redness) taking place on the skin commonly known as sun burn. The skin develops this erythema as cells die (a process known as apoptosis). The death of cells is caused by the UV photon attacking the DNA within cells, causing them to break from their bonds. Due to this, the body's natural defence mechanism begins to flood the area with blood to aid the healing process. Extreme sun damage may have consequences such as second degree burns, resulting in painful, but protective liquid filled blisters to aid tissue repair.
UVA rays penetrate the epidermis and affect the underlying structures deep within the skin. Photo ageing occurs as collagen fibres are damaged, this in turn signals the body to produce an irregular amount of elastin. Due to the production of this abnormal elastin an enzyme called metalloproteinase is made to rebuild the damaged collagen however these often malfunction and deteriorate the collagen fibres which then results in wrongly rebuilt skin. If this process is repeated due to excessive sun exposure the skin will begin to develop wrinkles and because of the lack of collagen the skin appears leathery and tight.
Too much sun exposure decreases the production of collagen. Collagen is the most abundant form of protein in the human body and can be found everywhere including muscles, skin, tendons and bones. As we age, the body and all its organs (including skin) age and the amount of collagen decreases, giving the skin a thinner appearance, which coupled with water loss makes the skin dryer and less supple. Without collagen to make the skin plump, fine lines and wrinkles are likely to appear and the skin loses its smooth texture.
This also means uneven pigmentation may be seen on the skin as some melanin cells will try to compensate for the decrease in production leaving discoloured marks visible on the skin’s surface. Melanin also aids the skin in UV protection, however due to its decline, skin is less able to protect itself which similarly leads to pigmentation problems. Another visible form of sun damage on the skin are Solar lentigo or age spots. These areas of discolouration can appear due to sun exposure as the skin over produces melanin in certain areas, resulting hyper-pigmentation spots which are caused by overactive pigment cells. Ultraviolet (UV) light accelerates the production of melanin. On the areas of skin that have had years of frequent and prolonged sun exposure, age spots appear when melanin collects or over-populates a specific area on the skin and is produced in high concentrations.
Protecting the skin whilst wanting to say true to your natural and organic skin care routine can prove challenging. This said, there are some excellent natural ingredients that can supplement the use of a traditional sunscreen.
In one study*, Raspberry seed oil was found to effect UVA + UVB protection similar to titanium dioxide with a 28-50 SPF protection factor against UVB rays and 8 SPF against UVA rays, in addition to absorbance in the UV-C range with potential for use as a broad spectrum UV protectant.
The most recent Inner Senses launch - Raspberry Rose Replenishing Facial Oil – is one such product which can be used alongside a sunscreen to increase its effectiveness. Raspberry Rose contains a blend of the finest Damascan Rose essence, and a dual delivery of protective Raspberry derived from both the leaves and seeds.
Star ingredients include: ⠀⠀
- Raspberry Seed supercritical CO2 extract
- Evening Primrose
- Bulgarian Rose
- Black Seed
- Raspberry leaf extract
Raspberry Rose should never replace a sunscreen but can effectively supplement their use and offer effects which sunscreens don’t; moisturising, smoothing, increasing elasticity and actively inhibiting oxidisation of the skin through its potent cocktail of natural antioxidants. Interestingly, it can take up to twenty years to see the effects of sun damage on the skin, so it’s better to be safe than sorry and start protecting yourself now.
© Jazmin Starr 2019
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Reprint in part or whole should only be done with prior permission
*Oomah, B.D. et al. (2000) Food Chemistry Vol, 69(2):187-193
Great read! Always looking for ways to protect my skin in the sunshine and now I have more of an understanding of why rather than just the sun is bad for your skin…Thank You!!!
This is a very intersting post especially as I use the raspberry rose oil and commented after a recent holiday that I had noticed an improvement in my pigmentation.