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Atmospheric Aging: How Can You Shield Your Skin Against It?

The atmosphere is an essential part of what makes this planet habitable. Apart from blocking the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sun, it traps heat, making the planet’s temperature conducive to life. But throughout the last century, air pollutants and greenhouse gases have brought about huge changes to the atmosphere. As a result, these changes have led to the rise of threats like global warming, acid rain, the infamous ozone hole, and premature skin aging. Atmospheric skin aging is generally a collective term that is caused when you are exposed to Infrared-A, UVA/UVB rays, and O3 pollution. Read on to know more.

UV rays

Free radicals that are induced by the sun’s UVA rays lead to discoloration and breaks down the skin’s structural support, whereas, UVB causes sunburn. The latter is recorded to be the most intense between 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon and may lead to skin cancer as well. 95% of sunlight is actually UVA and is considered to be more harmful than UVB since it penetrates deeper into the skin.

Infrared Radiation

Infrared radiation is said to have a longer wavelength as compared to ultraviolet rays and is considered to be more than 50% of the total solar energy that penetrates the skin. In comparison to infrared radiation, UVA and UVB comprise around 7% of the total solar energy. A type of infrared, termed as IR-A, pierces through the skin deeper than the ultraviolet rays, and 50% of it reaches the dermis. IR-A triggers MMP-1, a collagen-degrading enzyme, and promotes the generation of free radicals as well.

Ozone Pollution

Ozone happens to be a colorless gas which is found in the upper layers of the atmosphere and at ground level, too. It is classified as good or bad on the basis of its location in the atmosphere. Ozone pollution generally comes from ozone that’s present at ground level and is formed between the sunlight and chemical reactions caused by automobile emissions and chemicals that are found in commercial and domestic cleaning products. Ozone pollution is known for oxidizing lipids, depleting the antioxidant reservoir present in the skin, and activating the inflammatory pathways.

Impacts Of These Chemicals On Your Skin And Their Visible Effects

The oxidative stress has a damaging effect on your skin. These elements destroy elastin and collagen, and along with them, all the essential lipids. It brings about skin inflammation and causes DNA mutations. All these effects consequently lead to skin aging and the development of fine lines and wrinkles. The loss of elasticity, radiance, and skin density will also be evident the more you are exposed.

People Who Are More Prone To Atmospheric Aging

Individuals who are more exposed to environmental stressors are the ones who are more prone to atmospheric aging. People who are involved in occupations that require them to roam around under the sun or those who play a lot of outdoor sports for a major part of the day are more susceptible than anyone else. Apart from them, those who reside in industrial cities or highly populated areas are at risk, too. Ozone is created near ground level when various volatile pollutants are emitted by power plants, cars, chemical plants, and industrial refineries and react chemically when it comes in contact with sunlight. This ozone is carcinogenic in nature and has an adverse impact on skin tissues.

Ways To Avoid Atmospheric Damage

If you really want to avoid atmospheric damage, you need to take complete skincare measures to stop the damage of free radicals. You can use sunscreen that can protect the skin from the surface. Opt for broad-spectrum sunscreens that help in reflecting the harmful UVA and UVB rays of the sunlight and shield the skin from photo-aging. However, they do not provide comprehensive protection from a free radical damage. Antioxidants are useful since they prevent damage from within. These are known to neutralize free radicals and enhance the skin’s defensive abilities against UVA, UVB, ozone pollution, and of course, IRA. More importantly, they allow the skin to undergo a self-repair.

You have just gone through the details of what atmospheric aging is exactly, its effects, and the ways through which you can prevent it. Take precautions before your skin goes through extensive damage, making you look older than your peers.

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