Ultraviolet light induces and accelerates skin changes that lead to signs of aging, including wrinkles, uneven skin tone, yellow- or gray-appearing skin, uneven pigmentation, and age spots. Diminished cell turnover is also present, leading to cellular buildup that increases the opacity of the skin, making it less translucent. Color and texture can become altered and uneven when desquamation becomes irregular.
Exposure to Sunlight
Sunlight is comprised of varying wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation; this radiation ranges from very short cosmic rays to very long radio waves. The entire range of rays is often referred to as the electromagnetic spectrum. Only a small portion of the spectrum is visible, comprising about 35 percent. Sixty percent of the spectrum is infrared, which is felt as heat, and the remaining 5 percent is made up of ultraviolet rays. The ultraviolet range spans from 100 to 400 nanometers in length; UVA rays comprise the range of 315 to 400 nanometers, UVB rays are in the range of 280 to 315 nanometers, and UVC rays make up the range of 100-280 nanometers.
When sunlight strikes the skin, some of the rays are reflected, some are scattered, and others are absorbed. Absorption of ultraviolet and visible light occurs due to melanin granules in epidermal cells. Melanin protects the skin from the damaging effects of sunlight. Exposure to sunlight – especially UVA and UVB radiation – stimulates the production of melanin, resulting in a pigmentation increase. Melanin pigments are derivatives of the amino acid tyrosine. An increased production of melanin in the skin is known as melanogenesis. This process is stimulated by DNA damage to the skin, which is induced by UVB radiation. Tyrosinase is an enzyme that catalyzes the production of melanin and other pigments from tyrosine by oxidation.
There are different forms of melanin: eumelanin, which has a black/brown pigment, and pheomelanin, which has a yellow/red pigment. Melanocytes are melanin-producing cells located in the stratum basale.
Ultraviolet rays generate free radicals that wreak havoc on cellular material. They are not only capable of altering the DNA, but may also affect the membranes surrounding skin cells, destroying or altering the enzymes and proteins required for cellular metabolism and affecting amino acids. Exposure to ultraviolet light breaks down the skin's connective tissue – collagen and elastin – which lies in the dermis. Without the supportive connective tissue, the skin loses strength and flexibility, sagging and wrinkling prematurely.
Fortunately, the body is constantly trying to repair the damage of this vicious free radical assault. While the body's defense system is repairing damaged sites, skin cells are releasing the byproducts of this assault and repair process. The skin's inflammatory response may initially be seen as erythema, which results from dilation of blood vessels in the dermis as a response to the cell damage and repair process. Erythema is an indication of damage to the skin inflicted by the sun. Following erythema or sunburn, the skin responds by proliferating cell production and producing melanin, which gives the appearance of a tan. While some like the look of a tan, it is a strong indication that severe photoaging has begun.
The best way to combat photoaging is by keeping the skin protected. Protective clothing and the use of sunscreen is important. The skin must be protected from both UVA and UVB irradiation, so a full or broad spectrum sunscreen is necessary. Physical blocks, such as titanium and zinc oxide, are the most effective at providing protection from both UVA and UVB radiation.
Perform the following treatment monthly to brighten and even skin tone; reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and age spots that are caused by the sun; exfoliate; moisturize; and provide anti-aging benefits.
1.Skin care professionals should prepare for the facial by securing the client's hair, disinfecting their hands with antimicrobial hand wipes, and removing any eye makeup the client may be wearing. To remove eye makeup, saturate a cotton square with a gentle cleanser. Have the client close their eyes and, using downward strokes, clear away the makeup. Rinse the area well with water and a clean cotton square.
2.Cleanse the client's skin with a brightening cleanser that is comprised of natural lightening ingredients, such as willow bark, gotu kola, and licorice extracts. Using circular motions, gently remove the cleanser with a cotton square saturated in lukewarm water. Repeat the rinsing until all residue is thoroughly removed. Pat the skin dry with a clean tissue and proceed to protect the eyelids by placing therapeutic eye pads over the eyes.
3.In a small glass bowl, combine a 35% glycolic peel with a few anti-inflammatory ingredients. Utilize a facial brush to distribute the peel to the face and neck. Leave this treatment on for five to seven minutes. If the client experiences a slight stinging, assure them that it is normal and will subside. Using a fan to cool down the skin may help alleviate the sensation.
4.Thoroughly remove the peel with a cool, wet cotton square and spray the entire face with a soothing toner to restore pH balance, rehydrate the skin, and reduce erythema.
5.Apply a brightening serum that contains fruit extracts and hexapeptide-2 to the client's face and neck and administer a soothing facial massage. This massage should last for three to five minutes or until the serum is fully absorbed into the skin.
6.Proceed to also massage a brightening cream into the skin. This cream should contain lightening ingredients that brighten the skin, enhance cell renewal, reduce inflammation, and exfoliate the skin, revealing a more luminous complexion. This massage should be 10 minutes in length, incorporating effleurage, tapotement, and shiatsu pressure point movements.
7.Evenly apply a cooling, brightening treatment mask that stimulates metabolic action and cell renewal and has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties to the client's face and neck. Let the client rest for 10 to 15 minutes. This relaxation time is the perfect opportunity for a hand massage.
8.Remove the mask, being sure to clean off any remaining residue with a cotton square saturated in warm water.
9.Spray a brightening toner evenly over the face and neck, and patting them dry with a clean tissue.
10.The most important step is to thoroughly apply a full-spectrum protection cream to the skin. This step is incredibly important because chemical peels make the skin more susceptible to sun damage and more reactive. Use a proficient environmental protection cream that uses a physical blocker like zinc or titanium dioxide.
11. Recommend a homecare regimen that will continue to offer the client reliable sun protection and address symptoms of sun damage.
As the founder and CEO of the first company to bring seaweed-based skin care treatments and cosmetics to fruition in the United States market, Lydia Sarfati is an industry leader. She is the developer of the world-renowned Repêchage® Four Layer Facial® and presides over a 50,000 square foot manufacturing, research and development, and training facility. She appears nationally and internationally at aesthetic tradeshows, has produced 17 step-by-step instructional videos, is the author of "Success at Your Fingertips," "The Repêchage Professional Skin Care Methods and Protocols," and "The Lydia Sarfati Book of Skin Science."