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Condition - Fabulous summer skin

By Kelly Rose DipION FdSc VN

Many of us look forward to the return of the summer as often it brings the sunshine hours we long for (although not always!). The sun is very health giving and has beneficial effects, such as improving mood and contributing to vitamin D levels. Sadly sunshine also has a negative impact. Our skin is very delicate and the UVA and UVB rays that the sun emits both cause damage to skin. UVA was once thought to be less hazardous as it does not cause sunburn, however it penetrates the skin deeply and it can contribute to skin cancer by causing damage to DNA by increasing free radicals. These free radicals are harmful molecules that can directly alter body cells. UVB rays cause direct damage to skin cells and can cause mutations that may result in skin cancer. In addition to increasing the risk of developing skin cancer, the sun’s rays can damage the structure of the skin. It is well known that those who have spent years exposed to the sun have skin that ages quicker and is more prone to “age spots”.  

Sun Protection

Skin cells have a natural defence against sun damage and produce melanin, a brown pigment that is responsible for tanning. Although melanin is very good at its job of absorbing UVA and UVB rays it does not offer complete protection and sunscreens are advisable if you are going to spend a long time exposed to sunshine. Beta carotene is an anti-oxidant that has been shown to protect the skin against the sun’s rays and sunburn. Its effect seems to be at its highest after ten weeks of supplementation. 

Astaxanthin is a carotenoid anti-oxidant that comes from Haematococcus pluvialis, a green micro-algae. It has also been shown to protect the skin against UV rays and can offer potent protection for skin cells. In addition, one study found it may minimise the effects of sun exposure such as skin sagging or wrinkling. 

Looking after the structure of skin is also important for creating that “healthy summer glow”. Collagen is a protein, which is abundant in our skin and can support firm, youthful skin. Maintaining a routine of cleansing, toning and moisturising during the summer is essential. Exfoliating twice a week with a gentle exfoliant will help to remove dead cells. Follow this with a hydrating mask and don’t forget about the delicate eye area as the skin in this area is often more sensitive and thinner. Using an anti-ageing eye cream morning and night will provide protection and keep the eye area hydrated, young and glowing. 

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