We all know that over-exposure to the sun’s rays causes damage to the skin. Research is now showing that pollution together with the radiation from the sun, interacting with some forms of pollution, can be just as dangerous. The good news is that there are more options we can use over and above sunscreen to protect our skin from all these dangers.
Sun exposure is a constant and ongoing threat to our skin. UVB, UVA, Visible Light, and Infrared Radiation trigger the formation of free radicals and oxidative stress which are known to accelerate skin ageing by destroying cutaneous proteins such as collagen and elastin. It also creates mutations in our DNA that cause skin cancer, brown marks and increased skin sensitivity.
Until recently, not much has been written about the effects of ozone pollution and how it affects our skin health. Stratospheric ozone is the good ozone that occurs naturally in the earth’s upper atmosphere and protects us from the sun’s UV radiation. It cuts out the shorter wavelengths like UVC completely but does allow UVB and UVA to come through.
Less well-known are the dangers posed by ground level or tropospheric ozone, formed by the interaction of sunlight with hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. These are typically emitted by motor vehicles, coal-fired power stations, factories, and veld fires. This form of pollution causes excessive oiliness, destroys essential lipids in the epidermis, creates a rougher skin texture and increases inflammation and the formation of brown spots or freckles.
To protect yourself comprehensively against the various environmental aggressors, we recommend you combine your daily sunscreen SPF 50, with a topical antioxidant solution. Together they protect against 96% of all damaging free radicals.
Damage to the Skin
Dermatologists have increasingly noted an increase in certain skin pathologies such as skin cancer, skin sensitivity, and pigmentation.
These pathologies can mainly be attributed to environmental changes that affect the skin: DNA damage that causes skin cancer and internal enzymes that, when triggered, destroy healthy collagen and elastin, accelerating premature ageing as well as the formation of brown marks. They also cause cellular inflammation, redness and skin irritation that cause sensitivity. They Impair the skin’s ability to heal itself and regenerate efficiently. Prevention is vital.
How do we protect and preserve healthy skin, prevent premature ageing and skin cancer?
Our body’s own antioxidant defense system naturally degenerates with age and decreases and lowers the skin’s endogenous levels of Vitamin C & E, which causes many skin pathologies.
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid) plays an important role – it is seen as one of the most potent antioxidants.
The Vitamin E family are also potent antioxidants with excellent free radical scavenging abilities. In the epidermis, they protect against free radical-induced peroxidation i.e. degradation of ceramides, cholesterol, and free fatty acids. They also prevent moisture loss, cellular ageing, help wound healing and are anti-inflammatory. It has been shown that topical use also increases Vitamin E levels in the dermis.
There are many antioxidants available other than Vitamins C&E. They are often found in complexes. Other potent antioxidants include Pycnogenol, Glutathione, Citric Acid, Lilac Leaf Cell Culture, Chardonnay Grape Seed Extract, and Green Tea Extract.
The only way to address the depleted antioxidants in the skin and to boost the body’s own antioxidant defense system, is the daily application of a topical antioxidant cocktail, together with good quality, high factor, broad-spectrum sunscreen.
In addition, these anti-oxidants strengthen the support structure of the skin on the inside and promote a more youthful, radiant appearance on the outside.
It is important to note that not all antioxidant formulas are equally effective. Always look out for solid scientific proof when considering a topical antioxidant leave-on skin treatment.