It’s possible to prevent 90% of wrinkles?! That’s insanity! That is almost completely preventing all wrinkles! You probably think that that is some bull, and I am going to tell you to use this 1 miracle product and you can stay young and beautiful forever; like Peter Pan, or Lana Del Rey. Well that is false. You actually already have what you need to prevent these wrinkles.
90% of skin aging and wrinkles is caused by UV Damage. This is called Photo Aging. Gravity, natural aging, pollution, diet, genetics, smoking, and stress combined only makes up 10% of the skin damage that causes the visible appearance of aging. I am going to break down exactly what happens, and what you can do to protect your skin.
UV exposure leads to hyperpigmentation, reduced elasticity in the skin, and a degradation of skin texture over time. The definition of UV radiation is “UV radiation are invisible rays that are part of the energy that comes from the sun, can burn the skin, and cause skin cancer.” There are 2 major types of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation and 1 less known type. The lesser known is UVC rays. UVC is the most dangerous type of ultraviolet light. So how have we never heard of this one?! Don’t worry this one can’t penetrate our ozone layer and doesn’t affect us at all.
UVA is the weaker of the 2 we need to worry about. There is no prime part of the day to avoid getting UVA exposure like there is for UVB. UVA penetrates our skin more deeply though and therefore causes more damage. UVA light is not filtered out by windows. You are never safe from it. UVB rays are the main cause of sunburns and affects the outer layers of our skin. UVB rays are filtered out by windows. Because both UVA and UVB rays are both contributing to skin damage and photoaging, we need to take precautions to protect against both.
So how exactly does UV radiation affect our skin to age us into shriveled up little raisins we don’t have to be? Well it triggers the processes that cause wrinkles. Sun damages both collagen fibers and elastin. The collagen fibers are what gives our skin strength and flexibility. Elastin is what gives our skin the elasticity to snap back into shape. When the sun damages our skin’s elastin, your body starts producing large amounts of enzymes called metalloproteinases. Okay I am getting super sciency here, but I just want to explain how these wrinkles are formed because when you are at war, you want to know everything about your enemy. That was a tad dramatic but 90% is also a tad dramatic. It could have been like 40% and I would have been fine, but if I can be looking amazing as I age just by preventing photodamage, you bet I will be doing anything and everything to do just that. Metalloproteinases breaks down collagen. The breakdown of collagen results in uneven formations of disorganized collagen fibers. The repetition of abnormal skin rebuilding causes the wrinkles you see.
Another process your body does to backstab you in response to the sun induced skin damage is it over produces Oxidants (also known as Free Radicals.) Excessive amounts of free radicals damage cells and can even alter your genetic material. Fear not though because you can actually help reverse and prevent the damage caused by these oxidants. The true MVP here goes by the name of Antioxidants. Ahhhh so that’s what antioxidant creams are for. Antioxidant creams not only fight the free radical damage from the sun, but the antioxidants also absorb into your skin and build up there and cannot be washed away.
Now I am going to throw some freaky facts about skin damage and effects of aging at you to blow your mind. 50%-80% of skin damage occurs in childhood and adolescence from sun exposure. Most people apply only 20%-60% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. 15-30 minutes spent in a tanning salon booth is as dangerous as an entire day’s sun damage. A 2% increase in skin damage can age a face by 3 years. Gravity is responsible for creating jowls and drooping eyelids. Lastly, at the L’Oreal Research and Innovation Center, Paris that conducted extensive testing on photoaging has concluded “Our study confirms the accountability of sun exposure in premature aging of the face.”
So you didn’t wear much sunscreen or protective clothing in your childhood, what can you do to protect yourself now? As someone who grew up in southern Spain, Arizona, and California, I was no stranger to the sun. Now as an adult, I am incredibly cautious and diligent with skin care after my mother was diagnosed with skin cancer. I am also terrified of aging and wrinkles, and want to put off botox as long as possible. So first things first that is often overlooked is protective clothing. There is specific clothing that has UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) specially made with it. Otherwise, if you hold a shirt up to a window, however much you can see through it is how much it’ll protect you from the UV rays. Also wear wide brimmed hats and sunglasses. Sunglasses will help prevent crows feet and wrinkles around the eyes.
Other actions you can take are to use products that help prevent further damage and to reverse what’s already done. The biggest name is Retin-A. Retin-A is the only topical medication approved for treating photoaging. It works by affecting the growth of skin cells. Retin-A is a medication you need to get through a doctor, so for more realistic options look for products that contain these powerhouse ingredients.
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant. Products containing Vitamin C will help promote collagen production. Vitamin E is another great ingredient to look for in your skin care products. Vitamin E decreases roughness and wrinkle depth. It is not clinically proven, but for years I have used Vitamin E oil on any injuries, cuts, zits I’ve picked, to speed up the healing process and prevent scarring. Other ingredients to help rejuvenate aging skin include pomegranate and soy extracts. Grape Seed Extract, Aloe, Coral Extract, and Ginger have antioxidants which can be beneficial as stated earlier.
Other steps you can take are to exfoliate your skin. The process of exfoliating, or resurfacing, is the removal of the top layer of skin to allow regrowth of new skin. There are a few different methods you can take when it comes to exfoliating. There are simple scrubs, special creams, intensive peeling treatments, and laser resurfacing. For the facial scrubs, look for products containing salicylic acid to remove old skin so new skin can grow. There will also be some sort of abrasive particles you’ll find in there such as textured material or cleansing grains with microbeads. Avoid any cheap scrubs with crushed apricot or walnut shells as these can cause little microscopic cuts in your skin that can allow bacteria to enter and make a bigger mess of your skin.
For special creams to exfoliate your skin, look for products containing Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) which sheds dead skin and helps produce elastic and collagen. Most AHA products have Glycolic acid. I like using products with Glycolic Acid as an active ingredient. I could go way into detail with the more extreme procedures that must be done at doctors offices, and I will in a basic anti-aging article that’s not related to photoaging. This article is all about skin damage from the sun though. If you’ve learned anything from this article, you better wear sunscreen and exfoliate to make room for new skin growth.
I hope you enjoyed this in depth article on photoaging. When I started Glitterati Glamour Beauty after coming from an Educator position in the cosmetology world, I knew I wanted to continue to educate as many people as I could reach about the background and sciences in the beauty industry. If you liked this article please comment below, share with your friends and family, and don't forget to subscribe.