The skin is the largest organ of the body, so it is essential to make sure it is adequately protected. However, this is no small task, as your skin is besieged every day by toxins, UV rays, and other environmental factors that work to damage your overall health, leading to breakouts, discolouration, dry skin, and accelerating the signs of ageing. Therefore, it is important to know what you can do to defend your skin from damage to keep it healthy, clear, and youthful.
Oxidation is a normal chemical process, responsible for actions such as metal rusting or turning apple peels brown. However, what you may not know is that oxidation also occurs in the skin. Oxygen in the atmosphere triggers the formation of damaging molecules, called free radicals. If left untreated, free radicals can cause untold damage in the skin, and their creation can be exacerbated by stress, smoking, alcohol, or pollution in the atmosphere. Worryingly, free radicals can react with cells in the human body, causing them to malfunction or even die. If allowed to run unchecked, free radicals have been linked to the development of serious problems in the body, such as Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, and diabetes.
The human body does have a defense function against free radicals, and is able to create antioxidants to help combat any potential damage. Antioxidants are molecules that come in a wide range of different forms, and safely react with free radicals to halt any processes that can cause problems with the body’s cellular functions. However, as we age, our body loses the ability to eliminate free radicals fast enough, which is when signs of ageing start to take effect. Some antioxidants take the form of vitamins, such as vitamins C and E, whereas others are minerals, such as selenium and manganese. Still other antioxidants are plant compounds, like beta carotene and lycopene. It is important when considering your diet and skincare routine that you ensure your skin is receiving nourishment that is rich in antioxidants, as this is one way to make sure you are fully protected from harmful free radical damage. No one antioxidant provides a comprehensive protection but a variety of them work in tandem – just like with many of our other treatments at Aesthetic Health! The simplest way to ensure a range of antioxidants is present in the body is to maintain a diet full of plant-based food that represents the colours of the rainbow, as each colour provides unique antioxidant protection.
The Importance of SPF
It’s common knowledge that sun exposure is a leading cause of skin cancer, whether this be over a long-term period or due to intense tanning sessions. However, many of us underestimate how common the negative effects of sun damage actually are, and just how harmful it can be to the skin. Aside from skin cancers, sun exposure can also lead to premature ageing, causing wrinkles, fine-lines, and sagging. Over time, unprotected sunbathing may even cause a leathery texture to the skin, or areas of hyper or hypopigmentation. There are two types of rays to defend your skin against. UVA rays penetrate into the deepest layers of the skin, hindering the functions of elastin in the skin and resulting in early ageing. UVB rays, however, are far more intense, and damage the outer layers. On a short term basis, this causes painful sunburn, but long-term also increases the risk of skin cancer.
With both types of rays causing harmful negative effects in the skin, using a good quality SPF is crucial. Many people don’t realise that ensuring your skin is protected from the sun isn’t just essential in the summer months, but important all year round. Even on cloudy or overcast days when the sun itself isn’t even visible, 70-80% of UV rays still penetrate the atmosphere.
Skin Protection at Aesthetic Health
At our leading UK aesthetics clinic, we are experts when it comes to skin protection, and can give the best advice on products available as part of your treatment plan that can do wonders when it comes to ultimate skin health. Would you like more information on how to best protect your skin? If so, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.