Sun damage is a polite way to describe the unwanted effects of too much UV exposure. The main effects we decry are wrinkles, leathery, blotchy skin and “sun spots.” Sun spots are often referred to as age spots (Lentigus senilis) or liver spots associated with sun damage or aging, sometimes appearing as raised spots (Seborrheic keratoses). They typically start showing up on the most exposed areas, like the hands and the face, by age 40-50, or earlier if you have an outdoor job or live in an area where you get a great deal of sun exposure.
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Skin damage subsequent to UV radiation exposure is an established cause of a majority of skin cancers and precancerous conditions such as actinic keratosis. Exposure from the longer wavelengths of light in the UVA range is also responsible for the visible signs of aging, like wrinkles and hyperpigmentation. This explains why the campaign is on to educate people about the importance of using sunscreen every day.
Disturbingly, despite efforts to educate people about the importance of daily sunscreen use the incidence of skin cancer and other skin-related disorders is on the rise.
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While no one would argue against the importance of sun protection education, we in the cosmetics industry are aware of a major stumbling block that the medical establishment often overlooks, namely, that even people who know they should wear sunscreen daily avoid using it for cosmetic reasons. Their complaints range from "it’s greasy and makes me break out" to "it makes me look like a ghost."
Because anything that prevents sunscreen use is non-trivial, our strategy to aid in the prevention of photodamage, including photocarcinogenesis, has been to deliver a cosmetically appealing
yet still effective sunscreen/moisturizer. Part of our solution has been to utilize non-toxic minerals like zinc oxide
, while another, equally important part, has been to use botanicals whose effectiveness is backed by stellar research. Used in sunscreens, botanicals have the advantage over minerals of being invisible, and the advantage over chemicals of being non-toxic. Two of the most versatile and powerful ingredients we use are substances derived from green tea and grapes.
Antioxidants and UV Radiation
UV radiation leads to the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Antioxidants
aid in preventing damage from UV radiation by neutralizing reactive oxygen species, also called free radicals, generated by UV rays. Much study has been done on the efficacy of various antioxidants, with ascorbic acid, super oxide dismutase, “SOD” and Co-enzyme-Q showing excellent results.
Polyphenolic extracts from two natural sources, grapes
and green tea
, protect against UVB and UVA rays, and one study shows topical applications of green tea polyphenolic extracts
helps reduce sun damage risk.
Multiple Benefits of Grapes
Grapeseed extract’s polyphenols exert UV protective capabilities by acting as ROS scavengers, but as with green tea, the benefits don’t stop there. An extract from grape skins, known as resveratrol, is an important multi-tasker that plays a role in inhibiting some of the aging processes associated with inflammation
In addition, it is one of the most promising agents for the prevention of cancer
. Resveratrol appears to impart photoprotection
of normal cells by suppressing UV induced tumor formation.
Summer time means sun time. Even without trying, we all get more sun exposure during the summer months due to extended daylight hours, more outdoor activities, and exposing greater portions of our anatomy to the sun. While we are enjoying ourselves our bodies take quite a beating.
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