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Oct 12

SUN DAMAGE OCT 12- 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012 @ 05:43 pm Comments Off on SUN DAMAGE OCT 12- 2012

SUN, FUN, SKIN…. By Dr. Rose Genesis October 12, 2012 Most of us center the sun in our lives, and that’s not negotiable. However, take another look at the latest facts, then ask if there aren’t some strategies that might reduce your risks, or the risks for your young ones. They are vulnerable. It was surprising to the authors of several of the scientific references that went into this article that the public is still lagging when it comes to developing better sun habits. Adults generally had poor awareness of risks and strategies to reduce Ultraviolet damage. Even high performance athletes who take great care of their health and fitness were not considerate of the effects of ultraviolet light on their skin. Still, young teens rank “looking good” over strong admonishments against sun bed tanning. And many of them were introduced to the tanning beds by their parents, and financially enabled by their parents. The Globe and Mail reported on Apr 26, 2012 that a recent small Ontario poll reported that numbers are up for teen “fake ‘n bake”, and that the parents were supportive. It is encouraging to hear though that institutional leaders such as the Canadian Cancer Society, The Ontario Medical Association, and the Canadian Pediatric Society are calling for legislation that will “Ban the Tan” for minors. The World Health Organization warns that the risk of Melanoma increases by 75% when Fake Baking begins as a youth. Other North American surveys claim as many as 50% of young women are tanning in beds. To put that in perspective, a decision to protect the children with regular sun screen until the age of 18 was associated with a 78% reduction of Melanoma, according to Auerbach:Wilderness Medicine. The well meaning parents might have made different choices, had they known. Below are some interesting facts: RISKS: - most UV exposure occurs before the age of 21 - adolescents are still experiencing highest risk exposures, the sunburn, on average twice per year - children and elderly are highest risk for burns and skin cancer - outside recreational enthusiasts, endurance outdoor athletes, outside workers, are very high risk for all of the complications due to UV skin injury HOW DOES ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT DAMAGE THE SKIN? - The Ultraviolet wavelengths are uniquely capable of penetrating the cells in the epidermis and dermis where they selectively heat our DNA, causing it to “warp”, to be grossly mutated. - Furthermore, the by-products of this light-chemical reaction are oxygen variants that behave much like peroxide hair dye. They are chemicals form and transform in a split second, “taking out a good cellular structure or function molecule” every cycle, leaving a trail of damage to DNA, proteins, cell membranes like the battlefield after the battle. - If the cell is severely injured, attention will be drawn to the body’s defense system, the immune system. Troops and a host of weapons will be deployed that further damage that cell. The inflammatory reaction will look and feel like a sunburn, red, hot, tender, swollen. Sunburns are the highest risk factor for future skin problems such as melanoma. Even in the absence of sunburns in a darker skinned person, the gradual day to day skirmishes between UV and skin will take a severe toll on any skin type. - Ultraviolet light suppresses skin immunity. This is a problem if the skin is seeded with low lying mutations waiting for a time and a place. Cancer prevention is immune dependent. OUR BODY FIGHTS BACK - Our body is not without its defenses. The crusty top layer of our skin will absorb the UV light then slough off according to destiny. - Melanin, our skin pigment, will simultaneously absorb UV and neutralize the harmful peroxide chemicals. absorb some of the light, neutralizing the harmful oxygen products as it stands as barrier to the cells. - Natural tissue anti-oxidants such as Vitamins C, E, A, riboflavin, tryptophan, and others are all standing guard in healthy skin to perform their duty, to neutralize the harmful oxygen variants. - DNA repair enzymes are dispatched by gene controllers to disentangle and restore structure and function as possible to this cell. If survival is not expected, then the cell takes steps to sacrifice itself. COLLATERAL DAMAGE - The skin becomes red, swollen, tender, then it dries and peels. This is a sunburn. It is ominous because it is not just a full recovery burn. It is a red flag for significant UV damage that will manifest later as a cancer, dermatitis, or skin aging. - Some of the building blocks of the skin will be destroyed. Skin elasticity and volume will eventually be lost. Wrinkles, dull skin, droopiness, spider veins, pebbly rough skin, and brown spots are eventual consequences. This is aging. - Small mutations will linger for years until the next sunburn, or until immunity is down, when they grow above and beyond the cell to invade locally, and perhaps spread beyond to distant body sites. The cancer might appear as an adolescent or at any time thereafter. In more severely damaged skin, usually in mid-life or later, there might be a number of non pigmented skin mutations that become visible. They regularly appear, especially if there is suppression of immunity. These are pre-cancers or early cancers that trigger regular monitoring every few months t address new ones as they occur. - The eyes will be sore and blurry for a few days. UV burns to the eyes may contribute to later life macular degeneration and blindness, or cataracts. WHAT ARE MY CHOICES? A) AVOID EXCESSIVE ULTRAVIOLET ABSORPTION – SUN PROTECT - Select a minimum of SPF 30 that includes both physical and chemical factors - Physical blocks layer the skin like a shield against UV absorption - Chemical blocks absorb into the top layer and “take the heat”, “spare the skin” - Re-apply the sunscreen every 2 – 3 hours, on the more frequent side if in and out of water - Apply SPF ½ hour prior to sun exposure - Creams and lotions are superior to sprays - Wear a wide brimmed hat. Just ask an outside worker such as a farmer where the cancer spots are. They wore a cap, and the forehead is pristine, while the temples and cheeks are pebbled with skin cancers. - Infants - Avoid mid-day reflective surfaces such as water or ice or sand. - Beware cooler cloudy days. UV is high, kids play outside longer. - Consider specialized sun protective clothing which reflect UV even when wet, stay cool, dry quickly, are light and comfortable. - Wear polarized sunglasses with side shields. B) ENABLE YOUR BODY TO FIGHT THE BATTLE - So called “base tanning” provides the equivalent of SPF 2 – 4 and therefore it is not recommended. - Enrich the anti-oxidant supply of your skin. Anti-oxidants are sacrificial single use chemicals that take a bad molecule out, requiring a re-boot in order to return to front lines. A steady flow of anti-oxidants is needed to meet and defeat the flow of UV that enters the skin, especially unprotected skin. - A healthy diet provides the bulk of our skin anti-oxidants, such as Vitamins C, E, A plus Riboflavin, and some others. - Anti-oxidants may be supplemented by quality Vit CE serum. L-acscorbic acid is a specific Vitamin C version that has the chemical specificities to penetrate the skin barrier. L-ascorbic acid is the active form, on the mark for harmful oxidants. The formula needs to be stable, not impotent. By nature, antioxidants are an unstable lot, so a serum that remains stable with an objective institutional shelf life is cost effective. It should be of high concentration to maintain the flow of anti-oxidant protection for the skin. Some products are deceptively labeled as high concentration, but careful questioning reveals that the inactive esters were included in the concentration. - The topical Retinoid creams, such as Tazorac, are Vitamin A analogues that potentiate repair and rebuilding. The retinoid family has improved over the generations, functioning now as a safe, effective method of skin protection and repair. It is capable of reversing the signs of sun damage. - Photodynamic Therapy is another option that is available as needed for moderate to severe sun damaged skin. This specialized chemical peel microscopically identifies and destroys mutated or otherwise dysfunctional cells within the skin, preventing future expression of non-pigmented cancers and the appearance of advanced sun aging THE FUTURE Better education about sun damage and skin protection should be disseminated to schools and communities to enable good preventive decision-making. The perfect sunscreen might be a nanoparticle that will be long lasting, invisible, and prevent damage all day long. Biologic molecular cosmeceuticals with a defined precise protective role may be capable of inactivating the most detrimental of the UV free radicals. The specific free radical that does not have a genetically coded anti-dote is “singlet oxygen”, very potent. That is, deliver a “singlet oxygen neutralizer” across the skin to stand guard when UV manages to get by primary defenses, through SPF, hats, clothing.


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