Heat from the Sun Causes Aging

infrared-greg-donikian

We know that ultraviolet light from the sun causes damage to your skin. That’s because ultraviolet light is a form of radiation. It damages the delicate DNA in your skin cells, leading to aged, damaged skin and to skin cancers. It also causes free radicals to develop in the skin, damaging fragile elastin and destroying collagen, leaving skin wrinkled, lax, and without elasticity. Although most of the damage is done by this high energy form of radiation, new research suggests that even low energy forms of radiation are harmful.

Although most of the energy from the sun is visible and ultraviolet light, about 30% of solar radiation is from infrared light. Infrared light is essentially heat from the sun. It’s what warms you up when you sit in that little spot of sunlight on your sofa in the winter and what makes you sweat when you lie out at the beach in the summer.

A study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology (a basic science journal of skin care) found that when researchers exposed volunteers to infrared light in doses similar to what they might get in a couple of hours sun exposure, their skin produced up to a 14 fold increase in collagen chopping enzymes. These enzymes, called matrix metallo-proteinae, are normally produced to break down collagen. Increased levels of MMPs can be seen in autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

The study also found that health-promoting antioxidants in the skin were depleted following exposure to the infrared light.

Although more research is needed to confirm that infrared light exposure does lead to the type of damage that causes aging, the circumstantial evidence is strong that it does. Unfortunately, sunscreens do not protect against infrared light damage. Even broad spectrum sunscreens that protect against both UVB light (which is about 280 – 320 nm) and UVA (320 – 400), offer no protection for infrared light (760 -1440 nm).

Preventing photoaging (such as wrinkles, sagging, and sun spots) might be more difficult than we had realized. The best way to minimize aging from the sun is to avoid sun exposure during peak hours of 10 AM to 2 PM and to cover up with a hat and long sleeves if you are going to be in the sun all day.

Don’t forget, if you are committed to protecting yourself from sun exposure, then it is a good idea to supplement your diet with vitamin D. By taking 1,000 IU daily, you will keep your vitamin D stores high, and won’t need to worry about using the sun to get your daily vitamin D.

Photo: Greg Donikian

12 thoughts on “Heat from the Sun Causes Aging”

  1. Does this mean that LED treatments actually harm skin?

  2. Has anyone heard about “Invisble Zinc”? It’s nanotechnology for sunscreen. At the moment, I’m thinking the price of $30AUD for 50g of the product is more marketing with Megan Gale than anything.

    Zinclear as well is supposedly something from nanotechnology research. It’s microionised zinc oxide, with spherical particles that doesn’t scatter visible light and has visible light transparency. (as opposed to regular older sunblocks with more oblong particles that do scatter visible light and are less efficient at blocking UV light).

    That’s straight from my lecture notes haha not trying to market anything or spam the discussion. But has anyone heard anything about either of these two products, good or bad?

  3. The only component of the sun, which is responsible for aging is uva lingt. If you are able to block this uva ray present sunlight. You should not fear about this.

  4. Dr. Hawkings says:

    Cotz SPF 65 (made by Fallene) contains iron oxide and protects against IR.

  5. Does the infrared radiation from portable infrared heaters such as the Sun Twin pose a risk?

  6. Very good written article. It will be helpful to anybody who usess it, including me. Keep doing what you are doing – for sure i will check out more posts.

  7. yes. new research suggests that even low energy forms of radiation are harmful.

  8. The only component of the sun, which is responsible for aging is uva lingt. If you are able to block this uva ray present sunlight. You should not fear about this.

  9. You know, my Grandma used to sunbathe a lot. I recall her telling me this. Sadly though, she has little “freckle”-like looking marks all over her skin. I think it is from the sun’s damage. I wonder if I’m right?

  10. I thought IR LEDs are supposed to help the skin produce collegen? All the studies saying as much can’t be wrong, surely?

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