Sunlight and Wrinkles
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Premature skin aging is caused by the effects of the ultraviolet light from sunlight. In fact, symptoms of skin aging can be attributed mostly to the damaging effects of UVA and UVB.
Depending on the wavelength off light, ultraviolet radiation can be divided into:
UVA-320 to 400nm
UVB-290 TO 320nm
UVC- 100 to 290nm
A major producer of skin damage, this type of ultra violet radiation is highly penetrative and efficient. It is not filtered by glass and travels more constantly that UVB. It’s harmful radiation effects are do not vary at particular times, days or seasons.
The epidermis is affected by UVB and appears in the form of a sunburn. It’s intensity is subject to time and is most damaging between 10am to 2pm, as well as the warmer seasons. Unlike UVA however, it does not penetrate through glass.
This type of radiation does not affect the layers of skin as it is 100% percent absorbed by the ozone layer. Artificial sources that contain UVC include germicidal lamps and mercury arc lamps.
In contrast to chronologic aging, UV radiation causes faster collagen breakdown.
Free radicals are caused by UV radiation. Instead of two electrons, they only have one and are unstable. As it must search for other molecules with two electrons, it can interfere with normal cell functions and consequently change genetic material. This damage causes wrinkles by activating metalloproteinases which destroy collagen.
Wrinkles and Ageing
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Prior to outlining the causes of wrinkles, it is important to delineate the layers of skin which are affected by the aging process. The skin is made up of three layers; namely the epidermis, dermis and subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis is the top layer of skin which acts as the ultimate protection against external concerns such as UV, pollution and wind. The dermis is the second layer of skin, which contains the connective tissue. This connective tissue includes collagen which provides the skin with strength and elastin fibers to give the skin its spring or elasticity. Fat cells are contained in the subcutaneous tissue and enable the skin to look plump by providing insulation.
Wrinkles and Age
Epidermal cells deteoriate and become thinner with age. Skin appears noticeably thinner due to thinning cells and this allows moisture to be released instead of being retained in the skin. What does this mean? Dryness of course. What’s worse is that there approximately a twelve percent decrease in epidermal cells each decade, impairing the skin’s ability to heal itself. There is a high significance in the effects of aging on the dermal layer. As the elastin fibres exhaust, collagen is slowly reproduced, sagging in the skin is caused as well as modifications in the structure of the skin. Sebum is decreasingly produced by the sebaceous glands and as a result, there are less sweat glands. Once again, dryness in the skin becomes apparent. Fat cells get smaller in the subcutaneous layer. Wrinkles and sagging become more noticeable as the fat cells are unable to make up for the destruction in the outer layers.