Preventing UV-induced skin damage
While sun avoidance and wearing protective clothing remain important to minimize the health effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, advances in formulation research, development, and production have put sunscreens at the forefront of the prevention of UV-induced skin cancer and early aging. An understanding of the mechanisms by which chemical and physical active agents, antioxidants, and other essential ingredients contribute to the effectiveness of sunscreen formulations, cosmetics, and other skin care products can help clinicians make well-informed decisions and obtain the highest levels of UV protection for their patients.
Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation has long been associated with serious health effects. Some of these effects, such as erythema, are acute and usually reversible. Others, like premature cutaneous aging, eye damage, immunosuppression and skin cancer, are chronic and potentially life threatening. All patients who spend time outdoors can experience the damaging effects of UV radiation, but some are at significantly greater risk. These include individuals who have naturally light skin, eye and hair color; a history of sunburns; and difficulty tanning (1). Photoprotection is essential to prevent damage from UV radiation. This can partly be achieved by limiting time in the sun, especially between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. An additional preventive measure is to cover the skin with clothing that has the best ability to shield against UV rays. However, adequate levels of protection are obtained most effectively with regular use of broad-spectrum sunscreen formulations (2, 3).
HEALTH EFFECTS OF ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION
About eight percent of the global electromagnetic radiation emitted by the sun consists of in ...