Skin Sun Damage
Short wave lengths of light (UVB) tend to do most of its damage in the epidermis (the outer layers of the skin), while the longer wave lengths of light (UVA) produce damage in the dermis (the inner layers containing collagen and structural elements of the skin). When the energy of these small particles of light strike a component of skin (where the light wave stops), the energy released alters the chemistry of that component and damages the component. This is the initial sun damage. These chemical changes also produce free radicals and these radicals continue on to cause additional sun damage (secondary damage) to other skin components. This concept of a chain reaction of damage is explained in the Skin Free Radical Damage page. Unprotected sun exposure produces double levels of damage; the initial energy damage and the secondary free radical damage.
Skin Sun Damage
Over time, photo damage and subsequent free radical damage cause collagen to become broken and dysfunctional. Melanocyte (pigment) cells become dysfunctional and produce volumes of pigment that result in age spots and other forms of pigment. Fibroblast cells become dysfunctional and do not produce new collagen. Macrophage cells fail to perform adequate skin immune functions, etc. In this manner unprotected sunlight causes the skin sun damage we identify as aging.
At one time as much as 90% of the visible damage in skin aging was thought to be caused by sun damage. With better public education and sunscreens, this form of damage is on the decrease. Nonetheless, it is estimated that 90% of sun damage is the result of unplanned or casual sun exposures when people may not have active photo protection. This might include riding in a car, walking outdoors briefly or stopping to talk with friends, without a sunscreen. Multiple short and unprotected exposures to the sun may actually become more damaging over the course of a lifetime than a smaller number of lengthy exposures resulting in sunburn.
Chemical sunscreens protect the skin by absorbing the light particles (photons). When this energy is absorbed, the molecules of the sunscreen are destroyed, rather than a skin component. This still results in chemical reactions and the process generates free radicals that produce the same type of secondary free radical damage that unprotected sun exposure produces. Subsequently chemical sunscreens are not the most complete or effective form of sun protection. They prevent a larger degree of the initial sun damage but allow secondary free radical damage, which adds to the speed of the skin aging process.
Physical sunscreens, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, work by reflecting the photons of light up and out of the skin so there is no absorption of energy. There is no chemical reaction and no free radicals are produced. Unlike chemical screens, the physical screen type of photo protection produces no free radicals and no secondary skin damage. This is why dermatologists have recommended the combination of titanium dioxide and zinc oxide as superior sun protection. BiON’s Titanium Dioxide Sunscreen is a physical (non-chemical) screen using titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. It provides UVA and UVB protection with an SPF of 30. Dayspa Magazine selected it as their choice of the best sunscreen on the market, because of its protective qualities as well as its feel and application ease.
Since NO sunscreen is capable of absorbing or reflecting all of the light photons that strike the skin, protection from secondary free radical activity must always be considered. BiON’s sunscreen contains exceptionally powerful antioxidants to reduce free radical activities and the potential of secondary damage. These antioxidants include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Retinyl Palmitate, etc..
A sunscreen is part of an anti-aging strategy. Physical sunscreens (titanium dioxide and zinc oxide) provide much better anti-aging benefits than chemical sunscreens because physical screens eliminate much of the secondary free radical damage that can result from sun exposure. The addition of antioxidants into the sunscreen formula reduces additional potential free radical damage. Physical sunscreens fortified with antioxidants are a highly effective anti-aging strategy and tool.
Titanium Dioxide Sunscreen: For most skin types. Light and non-oily to function as an optimal physical sunscreen and light moisturizer. Full UVA and UVB protection. SPF 30. Chemical free with safe and effective titanium dioxide and zinc oxide protection, suggested by most dermatologists. pH 3.9
INGREDIENTS: Deionized Water (Aqua), Ethyl Methoxycinnamate, Shea (Butyrosperimum Parkii) Butter, Glycerin, Cyclomethicone, Dimethicone, Walnut (Juglans Regia) Seed Oil, Phospholipids, Stearyl Alcohol, Soybean (Glycine Soja) Lipids, Beeswax, Titanium Dioxide, Zinc Oxide, Decyl Oleate, Aloe Vera (Aloe Barbadensis) Extract, Sodium Hyaluronate, Tocopherol (Vitamin E), Retinyl Palmitate, Orange (Citrus Dulcis) Extract, Vanilla Planifolia Extract, PVP/Hexadecene Copolymer, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Sorbate, Ethylhexyl Glycerin, Tetrasodium EDTA, Oxynex K.
Progress to the Premature Skin Aging page for additional information on preventing skin damage.