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UV Aging

Posted June. 12, 2006 03:46,   


Why does skin age?

Freckles and wrinkles mainly come from age. Ultraviolet exposure is another major factor.

Discoloration, such as freckles and melasma, comes from too much production of melanin on certain areas such as the cheeks and forehead. Located on the upper layers of the skin, the melanin cells produce melanin which, when hit by ultraviolet rays, create a protective layer on the skin. However, freckles are produced because degree of skin reaction to the UV is different on each area.

Wrinkles are formed when collagen and other fibers are less produced and more damaged with age, resulting in a change in the upper layers of the skin. Ultraviolet rays are the main factor inducing the change of collagen and fiber content. Even among the elderly, there are more wrinkles on the face, which receives more sunlight than the body.

Ultraviolet rays play the greatest role in skin aging-

How much effect do ultraviolet rays and smoking have on skin aging?

Dermatologist Dr. Jeong Jin-ho of the Seoul National University School of Medicine recently studied 407 Korean adults and found an answer.

Next to aging, ultraviolet rays were blamed for skin aging. For those who are exposed for more than five hours each day to UV rays, the likelihood to develop deep wrinkles was 4.85 times higher than those exposed for one to two hours a day.

Women were 3.69 times more prone than men to produce deep wrinkles.

After menopause, the female hormone estrogen is produced less, and after age 50, women develop more wrinkles. After menopause, the possibility of developing deep wrinkles (6 to 10 years after menopause) was five times higher than five years before menopause happens. Even amongst women, the possibility increased 1.83 times with each childbirth.

Abstaining from smoking is also important. Compared to non-smokers, those that smoke one pack every day for thirty years aged 2.83 times more, and 5.53 times more if smoking occurred for 50 years.

Prevention and treatment-

UV protection is the best method of prevention.

Retinoid has been proven effective in creating collagen and fiber, as well as removing discoloration. But patients should discuss with their doctors in order to determine the amount.

Contained in commercial beauty products, there is often too little retinol in these products.

Studies also show that anti-oxidation products, such as vitamin C, improve the capacity of collagen or elastic fiber. It is also important to consume fruits, vegetables, and green tea. However, pasting fruits on the skin will not enable the skin to absorb vitamin C.

Estrogen also prevents skin aging, and beans, pomegranates, and sunflower seeds that contain nutrients that simulate estrogen should also be consumed.

There are a number of treatment methods. Lasers or chemicals that extract pigments have been proven to be effective.

Na-Yeon Lee larosa@donga.com