The Sun’s Rays and Skin Damage

What you see here is a screenshot from a short embedded tutorial that demonstrates the depths to which the different wavelengths of light penetrate the skin. It is a part of L’Oreal’s Skin Science page, a very extensive resource that will help you learn much about your skin and the science L’Oreal does for R&D of their products.

To view this tutorial, you will need to go to this page and click on the image. A pop-up will appear that will slowly demonstrate wavelength penetrating the skin. Helpful information to keep your skin safe and young looking for years to come.

Just take it from this trucker in this now well-known image of what the doctors called ‘Unilateral Dermatoheliosis” (one-sided sun-damaged skin) from The New England Journal of Medicine.

Unilateral Dermatoheliosis (one-sided sun damaged skin)
Unilateral Dermatoheliosis
(one-sided sun damaged skin)

“A 69-year-old man presented with a 25-year history of gradual, asymptomatic thickening and wrinkling of the skin on the left side of his face. … The patient reported that he had driven a delivery truck for 28 years. Ultraviolet A (UVA) rays transmit through window glass, penetrating the epidermis and upper layers of dermis. Chronic UVA exposure can result in thickening of the epidermis and stratum corneum, as well as destruction of elastic fibers. This photoaging effect of UVA is contrasted with photocarcinogenesis. Although exposure to ultraviolet B (UVB) rays is linked to a higher rate of photocarcinogenesis, UVA has also been shown to induce substantial DNA mutations and direct toxicity, leading to the formation of skin cancer. The use of sun protection and topical retinoids and periodic monitoring for skin cancer were recommended for the patient.”

Below, you can watch a video (in French, turn on subtitles) of one of the L’Oreal scientists who researches the mechanisms by which skin can be damaged by the sun in order to create products that either protect the skin or can help repair damage once it has happened. Interestingly, their work is also helping ‘Children of the Night’, those children who have the autosomal recessive disorder, Xeroderma pigmentosa, where the skin is extremely sensitive to sunlight because the DNA is unable to repair itself after exposure to UV light. At this time, I haven’t looked into how the two molecules/products mentioned in the video work or if they are included in any products, but hopefully their work is rigorous and the science sound.

L’Oreal is also well known for their support of women in science along with UNESCO. Check out their website to learn more.