Picnics and beach holidays are all about blue skies, an unlimited view of the horizon and fun in the sun. However, over exposure to the sun could lead to many challenges, especially for your skin. It could cause dark spots, redness and accelerate photoaging, thus leading to premature wrinkles and decreased elasticity of the skin. These might be common skin woes that everyone experiences with age, but all can’t be blamed on age alone. More than 90 per cent of premature ageing is caused by the cumulative effect of sun and  UV rays.

Photoaging is when the skin develops localised hyper-pigmented lesions, sun spots, etc | Pic courtesy: Runway Ritual

What is photoaging?
When skin is exposed to sun, the natural response is to produce more melanin to prevent the oxidative effect of the sun’s rays. In addition to this tan, the skin also develops localised hyper-pigmented lesions, sun spots etc. This is photoaging. While the skin has its own defence mechanism, that is, production of reaction oxygen species induced by UV radiations, this antioxidant is not efficient in itself to combat the harmful effect of rays. Here’s how you can prevent photoaging:

Supplementation with  antioxidants 
Since oxidative damage is the reason for the photoaging, hyperpigmentation/ sunspots, antioxidants are one answer to the problem. Antioxidants like selenium, lycopene, vitamin E, beta carotene etc are essential for healthy and glowing skin. A good supplement could elevate the skin’s threshold to sunburn, prevent production of free radicals and complement the other photo protective parallel measures that one must take to avoid damage. Dr Kaustav Guha, head – R&D at SkinKraft Labs, says, “When your eating habits do not fulfil your nutrition requirements completely, supplements come into the picture. They help maintain a proper nutritional balance, cover up any deficit in nutrients, thus boosting the immune system.”

Application of sunscreen 
Many people tout sunscreen as their go-to anti-ageing formula and for the right reasons. Regular use of a broad-spectrum sunblock keeps photoaging at bay for a longer period of time.

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Treatments 
There are various options available to tackle concerns like tan and hyperpigmentation effectively like:

a) Chemical peels
“These are performed by dermatologists. Peels are devised from fruit acids and other derivatives which help in dead cell renewal, reducing tan and blemishes, making the skin look more brighter,” says Dr Soham Bhattacharyya, consultant dermatologist, Kaya Clinic.

b) Microdermabrasion 
This is also known as skin polishing using aluminium oxide crystals to remove tan. Bhattacharyya adds, “A Q-switch laser or Er YaG laser  are safe devices used by dermatologists to reduce pigmentation and uneven skin tone.”

Basking in sun helps with the synthesis of vitamin D and is required for our wellbeing but it is also integral to know how to be careful about it. Happy sunbathing folks…

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