Healthy Living

The Effects of Sun Damage

The Effects of Sun Damage

New research has reported that exposure to pollution may double the skin damage caused by the Sun. The study reports that extreme weather and smoking may also increase the damage caused by ultraviolet radiations. The results of the study were presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).

Many earlier studies have shown that exposure to ultraviolet radiations may cause wrinkles and even lead to skin cancer. In this study, Michelle Garay, MS, of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies in Skillman, NJ, and colleagues focused on studying whether pollution and other environmental factors affect the skin damage caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiations. For this, the researchers placed the skin cells in various chambers which mimic different environmental conditions.

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Experimental conditions included:

  • UV radiation alone
  • UV radiation plus cigarette smoke
  • UV radiation plus heat 
  • UV radiation plus temperatures dropping below freezing
  • UV radiation plus high winds
  • UV radiation plus ozone

After the exposure, the researchers measured the chemicals associated with aging of skin due to sun damage. The results show that levels of these chemicals were higher in all the chambers which contained an additional environmental factor other than UV radiation. According to Darrell S. Rigel, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at New York University Medical Center in New York City, the study deserves further testing and presents interesting hypotheses.

sunburn relief

Rigel says that AAD recommends the use of additional protection when near water, snow and sand as they reflect the sun's rays and increase the chances of sunburn. “Now based on the present study, people who are in polluted areas also might need extra protection to prevent sunburn," he adds.