Sun savvy skin

15 Feb 2010 06:00 AM | Posted by Editor
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When it comes to ageing, the sun is our number one enemy.
We chat to Ken Lee, NIVEA Scientific Affairs Manager, who makes understanding UVA and UVB easy, and gives us the lowdown on preventing premature ageing and minimising pre-existing wrinkles.


So what’re you waiting for? Get reading and face the future armed with the sun smarts you need!

Like visible light, UV radiation is one tiny part of the sun’s electromagnetic spectrum that reaches Earth. Unlike light however, we can’t see UV radiation (well, at least not without some hardcore equipment). We know to protect ourselves from the sun when it’s a sunny day, but because we can’t see extreme UV radiation, we often expose ourselves to it without even realising.
And unfortunately, much of the damage that leads to premature ageing arises from this inadvertent, incidental exposure.

To understand exactly how the damage occurs, we first need a mini lesson in physics. UV radiation carries a certain amount of energy, dependant on the length of its wavelength. The relatively long wavelengths (known as UVA) carry less energy but are able to penetrate the skin more, while the shorter ones (UVB) have a higher energy but penetrate the skin to a lesser degree.

So, when UVB radiation – with its shorter wavelength but higher energy – reaches our body, it hits the upper layers of the skin causing surface damage such as thickened skin, redness, sunburn, and pigmentation. On the other hand, UVA radiation – with its longer wavelength but relatively lower energy – penetrates deeper into the skin where it has a more sinister effect, resulting in indirect pigmentation, the formation of skin cancers, and the destruction of the collagen bonds, elastin and DNA that keeps us looking younger.

UV rays are pretty underhanded and often the damage they cause doesn’t appear until later in life – but that’s not to say that all hope is lost if up until now you’ve been a bit slack on the old ‘slip, slop, slap’.

Misgivings of our youth aside, from this day forward you can still help to prevent the acceleration of ageing by being more smart about sun exposure. All it takes is little steps – incorporate a moisturiser with UV filters, such as NIVEA Visage DNAge Cell Renewal Anti-Age System Day Cream, into your daily routine, switch your regular gloss for one with an SPF when hitting the beach, and always remember to apply (and re-apply!) your sunscreen when spending time outdoors enjoying our great Aussie lifestyle.

Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet, avoiding smoking and excess alcohol consumption, and keeping your skin well hydrated will also help to prevent the early signs of ageing.

Unfortunately ageing is inevitable (can someone please invent a perpetual youth elixir already?), but for those trying to minimise pre-existing fine lines and wrinkles, help is still at hand. Over and above sticking to the sun protection steps mentioned earlier, using a cream-based, nourishing cleanser (as opposed to a foam wash or gel) specifically designed for more mature skin can help produce a ‘softened’ effect, making existing wrinkles appear fuller and more restored. Try: NIVEA Visage Vital Triple Action Soy+ Nourishing Wash Cream.

Ingredients such as retinoids, creatine, hyaluronic acid, AHAs, antioxidants and coenzyme Q10 all have anti-wrinkle properties so opt for products formulated with them to promote smoother-looking skin for longer. Try: NIVEA Visage DNAge Cell Renewal Anti-Age System Night Cream.