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Complete your UV protection to prevent skin ageing


Living in South Africa we are aware of a few home-truths: 1. Sun damage from overexposure is a significant cause of wrinkles and premature ageing. (Not to mention cancer). 2. Escaping the harsh South African sun requires multiple approaches i.e. sunblock, protective clothing and avoiding the sun during the harsh hours. 3. Even under the most heavy and cloudy day we are still susceptible to UV damage.

What we are not so aware of, however, is the role that indirect UV damage causes. Much of what we are taught or read about relates to direct sun exposure and the ageing effects thereof, these are called Beta Rays, but little is spoken about the damage caused to your skin from driving, common household lights or even watching TV.


Alpha and Beta rays

There is a common misconception that Alpha Rays (UV-A) does not damage the skin or cause visible skin ageing. This may be true in the sense that damage is not immediately felt or visible, but make no mistake the damage is being done.

UV-A light is far more prevalent than UV-B in that as much as 95% of all the UV light reaching earth is considered UV-A. This means we are exposed much more to the effects of UV-A.

Another harmful consideration is the UV-A Rays are equally prevalent during the day and night, can also penetrate clouds but importantly for us in South Africa, can penetrate glass i.e. while you are driving – this makes them specifically harmful to our driving/outdoor/social lifestyles.


A scary thought

UV-A is the ray responsible for your tan. The risk, however, is that this tanning ray causes cumulative damage in the basal layer of the epidermis and this has now been proven to increase your risk of skin cancer. As for visible skin ageing, Alpha rays essentially damage your skin’s DNA. This means you may not necessarily feel sunburn but your skin cells will not reproduce as effectively as they should for your age and you hasten your skin ageing.


How do you prevent UV-A Damage?

The answer is quite simple. First, understand and respect the Alpha Rays and take protective measures. Sunblock’s, hats and clothing are of paramount importance.  One can also purchase protective shields for your car and house windows.

To reverse Alpha Ray damage requires treatment of the deeper dermis, so treatments will often be a little more aggressive i.e. Deeper Chemical Peels, Dermapen or PRP Therapy. The purpose of aesthetic treatment for UV-A damage is to hasten cellular turnover to eradicate damaged cells as fast as possible in the correct layer of the skin.


The best advice would be to make an appointment to see Dr. van der Mescht and let her evaluate your treatment needs. Dr Martina prides herself in the art of graceful ageing and she will certainly have a minimal downtime protocol to match your unique skin needs. Call today on: 011 954 0070. You can also connect via Facebook