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The ozone layer really is going away in many parts of the planet. The radiation coming through via solar damage is much worse than previous decades. UV mutations are caused by reactive oxygen species such as superoxide anion, hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl free radicals.

Environmental Damage on Skin

Radiation penetrating the atmosphere directly affects human skin through the nucleotide base pairing in DNA. The obvious effects of UV on skin is inflammation. UVB starts up a cascade of cytokines, vasoactive and neuroactive mediators (veins and nerve endings) in the skin that collectively result in sunburn (inflammatory response).

At this point, the DNA of each cell permanently records this insult forever and plays it back like an evil digital recorder years later. People age much faster on exposed areas than if they had never burned their skin at all.

In addition, more cancer-causing radiation is pouring down through our atmosphere. Free radicals and less humidity are present in many parts of the world. Eventually, human skin will adapt to these ecological changes; perhaps by the year 2500 everyone on the planet will have dark skin or even reflective scales. We are the transitional generation, which means removing, rebuilding, protecting and maintaining with skin care is more important now than ever in history. Educating yourselves and then your clients, no matter how reluctant they may seem to absorb knowledge, is a professional obligation.

Beta Glucan Defense

Beta Glucans are the first defense after the protection of all categories of antioxidants including superoxide dismutase and catalase. Beta Glucans strengthen the Langerhans cells, creating strong dendrites (arms) that can either block lipofuscin (free radical soup) from forming or destroy free radicals outright. The DNA stops recording the damage instantly.

UVA/UVB Defense

Screen, screen, screen. Transepi­dermal formulas are best along with the newer nutritive screens. Keep in mind that sunscreen agents, both organic and inorganic, do not mix well with every buzz word ingredient, but a few powerful bio-nutrients can be added.

Using an SPF 15 is OK during winter, but cranking it up to 30 at least in summer is a must. SPF is determined by realizing how fast your skin would burn without screening. For example, blonde Caucasians would burn in 30 minutes in direct sun. You multiply 30 minutes by 30 SPF and you have ostensibly 900 minutes of protection if you don’t sweat it off or swim for more than an hour (about all the time a water-proof base can take regardless of claims).

There is much controversy about organic and inorganic screens and which is best. I leave it up to choice and allergy potential knowing that not screening will certainly court cancer.

We are the transitional generation, which means removing, rebuilding, protecting and maintaining with skin care is more important now than ever in history.

Treatment Defense

Cryotherapy is also vital to maintain homeostasis in tissue against inflammation and erythema, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Enzymatic skin revision treatments versus aggressive peels are preferable in summer months to avoid excessive melanoge­nesis. The summer is deceptively harder on skin than the coldest winters, where we are all forced to “cover up”.

Essential Fatty Acids

Lastly, keeping our matrix thick and bouncy as we age is also possible with good essential fatty acid (EFA) blends with prostagl­andins. In my experience, evening primrose oil grown in volcanic soils and sea buckthorn oils grown indigenously in inner Mongolia re-establish the skin matrix from inside out and help grow strong nails and hair.

Tell clients that there is no longer such a thing as a “healthy tan” unless it’s a fake one—take it from me at 73.

by Danné Montague-King

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