UV Skin Damage

UV Damage Causes

There are 2 types of UV which are essential for Skin Experts to understand; UVA & UVB.

UVB is often called UV Burning. It holds heat, so you can feel it on the skin. It is what causes sun burn. UVB is strongest when the sun is high in the sky (ie between 11am 3pm) it is also slightly stronger in summer than winter. UVB is a larger wavelength so it is only able to penetrate the epidermal layers.

UVA is often called UV Ageing. It doesn’t hold heat, so you can’t feel it on the skin. It also doesn’t cause sun burn, so it is hard to know that you’ve had too much. UVA is the same strength all day from sunrise to sunset and its strength is also constant all year (summer and winter) and with all weather conditions; on cloudy, rainy or sunny days. UVA is a shorter wavelength, which enables the radiation to penetrate to the dermal layers of the skin.

UVA is able to activate the release of Collagenase & Elastase which accelerates the premature breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres. Hence it getting its nickname UV Ageing.

There are 2 categories of sun protection: Chemical & Physical.

  • Physical sunblocks are those which contain either Zinc or Titanium as their active ingredients. Zinc & Titanuim are both minerals crushed rocks which are able to provide a physical barrier for the skin against UV Radiation.
  • Chemical Sunscreens work differently, the active ingredients absorb into the skin, and neutralise the UV Radiation within the tissues. This is an effective protection against sun burn, but unfortunately due to the reaction happening within the tissues, it also produces free radicals which can cause cell trauma.

There is often confusion around which SPF rating is desirable. 30+SPF offers 97.3% protection against UV Radiation
50+SPF offers 97.8% protection against UV Radiation

You can see that all the skin requires for adequate UV protection is a 30+ SPF. It is very possible to create a Physical (Zinc or Titanium or a mixture of the two) 30+ Sunblock. However it is impossible to create a purely physical 50+SPF, it will always have chemical ingredients.

Skin Experts should be educating their clients about the different types of protection so they can make informed choices. Clients should be looking for a Physical 30+ SPF.

There are many other possible triggers of pigmentation within the skin. The main ones for Skin Experts to be aware of are hormones (pregnancy) and medication (Hormonal contraceptives, Anti-Depressants, Anti-Anxiety, Anti-Psychotics).