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Sun Damage and Its Effects

Sun damage occurs as a result of the skinís exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. As UV rays are absorbed, they can cause cells to enter into photo-excited states, which can lead to the formation of free radicals, oxidation and cellular damage to occur. UV rays can also produce changes or mutations in the DNA within the skin cells, causing the cells to function, look, and act differently than normal cells. If the skin is continually abused, over time it struggles with self-repair and the signs of sun damage begin to emerge.

As the cells within the basal layer begin cellular replication and keratinization, the DNA changes caused by the sunís UV rays are copied into new cells. Eventually, visual changes on the skinís surface appear such as hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, fine lines and wrinkles, and other more serious imperfections such as actinic keratosis (precancerous lesions).

Fortunately, the body has mechanisms to repair damaged DNA, as it is essential to maintaining genomic integrity and immune function. NAD (the active form of Niacin) is one of the components of that process. NAD also stimulates energy metabolism and thereby enhances epidermal renewal and dermal functions, all of which result in healthier skin.

There are several ways to minimize and combat damage caused by the sun and other environmental factors Ė PreDamage and PostDamage.

AVOIDANCE. The best way to prevent sun damage is to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

PREVENTION. Sun Protection Factors (SPF) are widely used to reflect the sunís harmful UVA/UVB rays. As a result, DNA damage is minimized and the risk of developing sun damaged skin is reduced.

PROTECTION. Building a strong, healthy skin barrier is an excellent way to help the skin protect itself from sun damage. A stronger, healthier skin barrier is able to reduce the number of UV rays that enter the basal layer, therefore minimizing the amount of sun damage.

REPAIR. Promoting DNA repair improves energy metabolism and the overall generation of healthier skin cells within the epidermis and can help reduce the visible signs of sun damage by utilizing the skinís own natural repair processes.

The incidence of sun-induced skin damage is increasing at an alarming rate. Sun exposure is currently responsible for more than 90% of all skin cancers. Promoting healthy skin that can protect and repair itself as well as using proper protection against the sun and avoiding sun exposure when possible is absolutely necessary to reducing the effects of long-term sun damage to the skin.