In today's world it can be difficult to know what is good for your skin and what can harm your skin. With talk of UV rays, free radicals, and more who knows what really damages skin? However, the main causes of skin damage are ultraviolet (UV) radiation, smoking tobacco, and artificial ultraviolet radiation.
According to the study "Ultraviolet Radiation and skin cancer" published by Deevya L. Narayanan MPH, CPH, Rao N. Saladi MD, and Joshua L. Fox MD, FAAD in the International Journal of Dermatology, 65% to 90% of all melanomas are caused by UV radiation. Melanoma, or skin cancer, is the most serious form of skin damage. However, there are signs leading up to cancerous skin that include premature aging, skin discoloration, and loss of elasticity in the skin. Because we are all exposed to UV radiation each day through our sun it is important to recognize how much sun is enough and what we can do to adequately protect our skin from the damaging effects of the sun.
Dr. Jonette Keri of the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine explains that smoking deprives the body of oxygen and nutrients. This manifests in the skin though uneven skin tone, sagging skin, and general premature aging of the skin. Those who smoke tobacco are also more likely to expose their skin to harsh conditions as they go outdoors to smoke. Severe weather can also take a serious toll on overall skin health through excess sun or wind.
Artificial ultraviolet radiation, such as the radiation one is exposed to in tanning beds is also extremely harmful as it does not provide the benefits that one may get from being exposed to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Indeed, tanning beds have such serious effects on skin health that the Irish Health Minister stated in 2009 that he was pushing to ban the industry all together. Generally speaking, if you would like to have a tan it is critical that you spend time outdoors to get the benefits of the sun, such as adequate Vitamin D, rather than spending time in a tanning bed.
Overall, there are a wide variety of factors that can damage the skin. Some of these factors include real and artificial ultraviolet radiation, smoking tobacco, and severe weather. Luckily, there are steps that are easy to take to protect your skin from damage.