Protecting Your Skin Naturally

By: Bel Marra Health | Aging Skin | Friday, May 18, 2012 - 01:22 AM

look youngerThe spring and summer seasons are usually associated with fun in the sun— getting a nice tan to look younger or simply enjoying the outdoors.  Unfortunately, extensive exposure to the sun has also been strongly associated with wrinkles and sun damage, decreasing a person’s chances to look younger.  More importantly, excessive exposure has also been associated with the development of skin cancer.  Bright sunshine also makes us squint, causing wrinkles, which are definitely not the best way to look younger.

Protecting Against Skin Damage

Skin cancer commonly affects North Americans, generating approximately 2 million new cases each year.  Majority of the cases diagnosed include basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.  Melanoma, on the other hand, is another type of skin cancer that is less common among North Americans.  In terms of severity of skin cancer type, squamous cell carcinoma has been shown to have a greater metastatic potential, thus accounting for a small percentage of skin cancer-related mortality.  Melanoma has been reported to be more deadly, with approximately 8,800 deaths reported for the year 2011.

Based on the statistics on skin cancer, it is therefore important to know specific steps on how to decrease the effects of sun damage in order to prevent the development of skin cancer.  Everyone still wants to enjoy the heat of the sun but there is also a need to find a balance between sun exposure and the prevention of wrinkles in order to look younger.

The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recently released its report that defined measures in preventing skin cancer.  The report, published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, discusses schemes on decreasing sun damage through results gathered from extensive literature search on the latest evidence on skin cancer.  Interestingly, the report explained that although information on sun damage, including wrinkles, have been available for years, a strong correlation was observed between personal behavior and skin cancer.

The USPSTF report thus listed a number of activities that could be done in order to receive the positive effects of the sun and look younger with a tan, but also prevent the development of wrinkles and sun damage.  Their recommendations are based on the compilation of several reports that linked personal behavior and the degree of sun damage, wrinkles, and possibly skin cancer.  These recommendations may also be adapted for health programs that teach people on how to prevent wrinkles and look younger.

Why You Should Be More Concerned About Cancer Than Wrinkles

One of the most alarming observations that was gathered and presented in the report was that wrinkles, sun damage, and skin cancer were higher among people who have been exposed to the sun during childhood.  This exposure included sunbathing, which usually involves long-term basking in the sun for several years, accumulating enough sun damage that could potentially trigger mutations in the skin cells, causing cancer.  Spending time under the sun can also cause wrinkles and decrease the chances to look younger.

Another observation that was gathered by the task force was that the use of indoor tanning was linked to an increase in the risk of sun damage and skin cancer.  Definitely having a nice tan can make a person look younger and that tanning beds are quite convenient for people with busy schedules, but the accumulation of reports from observational studies showed that melanoma cases have been associated with the use so solarium bulbs at tanning salons.

What Else Protects Against Skin Damage?

The report also recommends the use of sunscreen to protect the skin from sun damage and decrease the chances of developing squamous cell carcinoma.  Although the mechanism behind this reaction remains elusive, it has been reported that sunscreen has a limited ability of preventing all types of skin cancer, thus only preventing squamous cell carcinoma but not basal cell carcinoma.

The use of sunglasses can also decreasing squinting, thus preventing wrinkles and helping a person look younger.  Constantly drinking water while outdoors can also help keep our bodies hydrated, allowing us to enjoy the sun, look younger, and stay healthy.

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