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What Causes Sun Damage?

As we head into warmer weather I thought it would be important to touch on sun protection. In the skincare world and everywhere else we are constantly hearing about the benefits of antioxidants, whether they are in you blueberries or in your face serum. However, do you actually know why they benefit your skin? And how they help to protect against sun damage? If you curious or just want a refresher keep reading.

Unfortunately, 90% of visible aging is caused by environmental damage and the sun is the number one offender. It's the UV rays from the sun that are at the root of this damage. These UV rays create free radicals, which are the source of cellular change that leads to hyperpigmentation, fine lines, wrinkles and skin laxity.

Free radicals are molecules with unpaired electrons, which makes them unstable and highly chemically reactive. Inside the skin, free radicals damage their cells, their DNA and other vital cellular components. Antioxidants can stabilize free radicals by donating electrons, and therefore help to prevent their destructive effects on the skin. They also promote collagen synthesis, which helps to keep the skin firm and youthful.

Luckily, our skin has a natural reservoir of antioxidants that neutralize free radicals before damage is done, but their protective benefits are quickly depleted by exposure to environmental and lifestyle factors such as UV rays, sun-induced free radicals, infared radiation A (IRA), pollution, alcohol and cigarette smoke. If you consume antioxidants in your diet, or utilize them in your skin care routine (read below for tips) this will increase their concentration in your body and skin and provide you with more protection.

Some people think that using a sun protection is enough, but it is important to remember that even the best sunscreens are only blocks. Using a serum high in antioxidants plus a sunscreen is the best approach and will complete your sun protection.

Here are my favourite ways to up your antioxidants and to protect your skin:

1. Eminence Citrus & Kale Potent C+E Serum (Product of the Month!!) - This is a potent serum, power packed with non-irritating Vitamin C which is stabilized by botanically-derived ferulic acid to deliver optimal antioxidant benefits and improve the appearance of skin. Daily use of a vitamin C serum is the best way to lighten, tighten and brighten your skin.

2. Vitanox - For those wishing to up their antioxidants through supplementation, one of my all time favourites is Vitanox by Mediherb. This unique formulation contains green tea, turmeric, grape seed and rosemary delivering a high amounts of antioxidant protection. This can be taken daily for the maintenance of good health. As always, before taking any product consult your health care practitioner.

3. Eminence Sun Defense Mineral Powder (Product of the Month!!) - This is my absolute must-have for the beach. The application couldn't be easier! These hypoallergenic, non pore clogging natural minerals provide water-resistant SPF 30 sun protection to women and men alike. They are excellent for post-treatment use, especially on red or blotchy skin. Darker shades can be used as a bronzer.

4. Berries - Fruits, especially berries are full of antioxidants and are coming into season. Blueberries are the most powerful antioxidant fruit, and they contain a very low amount of sugar and a high amount of fibre. An easy and delicious way to increase your antioxidants!

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