Anti-aging efforts must be doubled in Urban Areas and in Extreme Weather

Your anti aging routine may need to be ratcheted up a notch.  According to Charlene Laino in her article “Pollution May Aggravate Skin Damage From Sun,” which was posted on MedScape, polluted urban environments or pollution levels found similar to those in urban environments may more than double skin damage, in the form of premature aging, from the sun, preliminary research suggests. Those were not the only disturbing findings from this research for those of us concerned with anti aging.

Extreme weather, such as extremely cold or hot, may also increase the skin damage associated with UV radiation, the study suggests. Those of us who live in colder or hotter climates have one or more more issues to deal with in our anti aging quest.

Researchers tested exposure to pollution and other environmental factors, such as extreme temperatures, to determine if they would exacerbate damage from the sun. The researchers tested with the following different environmental conditions, including UV radiation alone, UV radiation plus cigarette smoke, UV radiation plus heat of 104 degrees F, UV radiation plus temperatures dropping below 32 degrees F, UV radiation plus high winds, and UV radiation plus ozone.

To determine if further damage had occurred, researchers measured unique chemicals associated with aging of the skin due to sun damage. Levels of all the chemicals were higher in the scenarios that included a second environmental stressor along with UV radiation.

Neither the author nor researchers mentioned steps for prevention, but much of it is common sense. For those of us who live in urban areas, freezing or arid climates, or in areas of high winds, further protection—beyond sunscreen—is necessary. For example, wrap your scarf around your face during the winter or during high winds, which in the Midwest often come together, and wear facemasks when skiing or playing in the snow. Spritz your face with water often during the summer but make sure you reapply sunscreen, and with wear a wide-brimmed hat. Also, don’t forget to protect your younger family members. I’m unsure of steps to take to help combat pollution. If you have any ideas, please post them.

The findings of the research were presented at the yearly conference for the American Academy of Dermatology by Michelle Garay, MS, of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies and colleagues.

69th Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology, New Orleans, Feb. 4-8, 2011.
Michelle Garay, MS, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Skillman, N.J.
Darrell S. Rigel, MD, clinical professor of dermatology, New York University Medical Center.

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