Fact: Research shows that UV exposure is the reason behind 80% of your skin’s ageing. UVA rays are most commonly associated with skin ageing; these rays cause fine lines, wrinkles, and age spots that make skin age prematurely. UVA rays penetrate deep into the dermis, the skin's thickest layer, steadily destroying key substances in skin that give it its firmness and elasticity. These rays even have the ability to pass through glass, meaning your skin is exposed to them while you are driving and standing or sitting in front of windows with the blinds open.
UVA & UVB On the other hand, UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin. They do not penetrate as deeply as UVA rays and cannot pass through glass. However, don’t be fooled. UVB rays have a higher energy than UVA rays, and therefore are more potent in the development of skin cancers. UVA rays are the leading cause of wrinkles and a cause of, or major contributor to, every type of skin cancer. Based on what's known today, there are no safe UV rays. In fact UVA rays are considered the sun's silent killers because, unlike UVB rays, you do not feel the effects of UVA rays damaging your skin. UVA rays are the cause of tanning, and unless you burn first, getting a tan isn't painful—but, those unfelt UVA rays are reaching deep into skin, causing havoc in every layer.
And here's another scary fact! Driving has been linked to an increased risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure through the windows. We may think if we are travelling in a vehicle we are safe from the sun’s harmful rays, but nothing could be further from the truth. Need proof that glass does not filter UVA rays? Bill McElligott is a perfect example of this. Is there any way to erase the damage caused by the sun? There are ways you can reverse or minimise some of the damage caused by overexposure to the sun, but it is simply not possible to erase all of the damage. While topical creams, serums or chemical peels may help with the appearance of lines or sunspots caused by UVA sun damage, they will do nothing to stop or prevent a skin cancer growing as a result of a sunburn caused by UVB rays. Remember - Skin cancer is non-discriminatory and can be diagnosed for any age, gender, or skin type.
Slip Slop Slap! No matter your age, gender or skin type, daily sunscreen use is one of the very first defences against premature ageing and the basis of a brilliant anti-ageing skincare routine. In Australia, sunscreen is a must every day. But even more so as we head into the warmer months. With long days spent frolicking at the beach or by the pool or barbecuing in the garden, it is more important than ever to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. Prevention is always better than cure!
If you use just one skin product for the rest of your life, we recommend Synergie Überzinc. It's the next generation in environmental protection, with a high level of Zinc Oxide (21%) that screens all UVA (wrinkle causing rays) and UVB (rays responsible for burning), and is now invisible to the naked eye thanks to new technology.
And what about Bill McElligott? He now wears sunscreen every day and is using topical retinoids to try and reverse some of the damage. He is also constantly monitored for skin cancers.