The human skin is being constantly damaged and worn out in its interaction with the environment and required skin renewal as skin cells are constantly replaced during our whole lifetime. Avoiding Ultra Violet light will reduce some types of skin damage as you age, but you will still end up with a pasty, grayish, lifeless, pale skin.
Avoiding skin damage from ultraviolet light, allergens, detergents, damaging soaps, irritants, acne scars, airborne pollutants, chemical sunscreens and so forth is but only one part of a wider story.
Hiding from sunlight will not keep your skin young and vibrant. A certain amount of sunlight on your skin is necessary for good health. Sunlight activates a gene called pom-C, which in turn helps create melanin that determines skin color and enhances sex drive, the endorphins or “happiness hormones”, and leptin, which helps burn fat and keep you thin.
Downside of light avoidance: Some people choose to stay out of the sun and bright daylight altogether. This minimizes UV damage but it has a significant downside (in addition to reducing the enjoyment of life). In some people, lack of exposure to bright light may disturb normal sleep-wake cycle leading to insomnia and depression.
(This has to do with the effect of light on the production of some brain chemicals such as serotonin and melatonin.) Sunlight is also needed for the body to produce vitamin D whose deficiency leads to bone loss and poor immunity. If you have no sun exposure, make sure that you get 100% RDA for vitamin D in your vitamin supplement of in vitamin D fortified milk.
Sunscreens. When shopping for a sunscreen make sure that it is a physical sunscreen that has SPF 15 or higher and that it offers protection against both UVA and UVB. The best way to “find truth” about a sunscreen is to look at the list of active ingredients and see if they include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or talc and physical UVA blockers. Avoid chemical sunscreens for they are free radicals generators and have strong estrogenic actions that may cause serious problems in sexual development and adult sexual function, and may further increase cancer risks.
Four basic skin changes occur as we age.
1. The rate of skin cell replacement is reduced producing a thinner, more fragile skin. Skin is replaced every three weeks at age 20 but this increases to every nine weeks by age 50.
2. Damaged protein accumulates in the skin. This damage can be the results of scars, sun damage, oxidative damage, and the cross-linking of skin proteins by sugars.
3. After age 25, skin oil production starts to drop. This reduces acne but produces a dryer skin. This drop in oil production becomes more serious after age 45.
4. The biosynthesis and breakdown of collagen, elastin, and water-holding proteoglycans and glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) exists in a dynamic balance in young healthy skin. However after age 25, the skin’s production of collagen, elastin and the water-holding GAGs is reduced, while the rate of breakdown of these factors is increased, and starts wrinkle formation and loss of elasticity. The problem becomes progressively more serious with passing years.
Children have wonderful skin with a high natural self regeneration and a beautiful color and texture. When a child’s skin is damaged, the wounds heal rapidly and scars and skin lesions are quickly removed.
Skin renewal methods may induce minor changes such as smoothing the skin, reducing wrinkles, the repair of sun damage, the removal of skin blemishes and imperfections, all of which give the skin a more youthful appearance and bring the skin to a more youthful condition.
More vigorous skin renewal methods include laser re-surfacing and chemical peels combined with cosmetic surgery techniques such as a face lift and focused liposuction.