How Does Sunlight Affect The Aging Of Skin?

How does sunlight affect the aging of the skin? Is a little sunbathing really that bad of an idea? Unfortunately, even a little bit of sunlight will affect your appearance, increasing the signs of aging on the skin. If you want to maintain youthful, supple skin, then yes, you do have to coat your skin with a good quality sunblock, preferably using a natural product to avoid regular exposure to chemicals.

  1. Sunlight affects skin aging because of harmful ultraviolet rays. The rays from the sun are great for illumination, heat, the existence of the entire plant kingdom and our mental well-being. What warming, brightening sunlight is comprised of-UVA and UVB rays-are not. Both types of UV rays are responsible for skin damage due to the sun. Sunburns, dead cells and dry, parched skin are all caused by exposure to these rays.
  2. Do UVA and UVB rays have the same effect on skin aging? Both increase the likeliness of wrinkles and cause skin damage. Both are dangerous and can lead to skin cancer, although different types of skin cancer. UVA rays affect the deeper layers of the skin, causing wrinkling and damage to collagen (what the connective tissue of skin is made up of). UVB rays are responsible for damage to the top layers of the skin.
  3. Exposure to sunlight causes destruction on a cellular level. Skin aging from sun exposure is due to an increased level of free radical activity. UV rays actually affect genetic material in cells, damaging tissue. Once the genetic material is altered, the natural repair response is affected; instead of new healthy cells being created, new damaged cells are created. This only increases the vulnerability of skin tissue to the affects of aging on the skin.
  4. What are the signs of aging? Wrinkles, age spots, thinner skin and dryness are all the results of long-term sunlight exposure. There are other factors, including genetics, smoking and diet, although sunlight is one of the major instigators of skin aging.
  5. What are treatment options? Unfortunately, how sunlight affects the aging of the skin is cumulative; it can easily go unnoticed for years. Once the damage is done, it is difficult to reverse. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and doing a regular detoxification can help. Wearing a natural sunblock with a minimum SPF of 15 is the best way to prevent sun damage. Look for a lotion that offers both UVA and UVB protection.

How does sunlight affect the aging of the skin? The sun's UV rays literally destroy and alter skin cells. While aging is inevitable, slowing the aging process and reducing wrinkles, age spots and sagging skin can be done with a healthy lifestyle and a little sunblock.


Balch, Phyllis, CNC. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition." The Penguin Group, 2006.

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