A Summer Skin Master Class: Did You Know Sun Damage Takes Years to Appear?

- Lynda Bateman
While it’s commonly understood that UV rays have complex and mixed effects on human health, it may surprise you to learn that it typically takes 30 years for sun damage to appear.

How are your summer vacation plans shaping up? Are you headed down the shore or to the mountains, booking a music festival, or will a picnic in your favorite park on sunny weekends fill the dog days this year?

Whichever way you choose to spend them, summer days are spent outside, and with temperatures set to soar, stocking up on hats and sunscreen is fast becoming only half the story in the fight against aging and overexposure to UV rays. There is new science dawning on invigorating DNA damage, so for this summer skin master class, we need to dive deeper … and go cellular.

Do you take good care of your skin? According to the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey, it’s likely that you do. Some 1.35 million Americans spend a staggering $500 or more on skin care products over any single, three-month period, and don’t forget about the millions more who pay in to the more than $500 billion skin care industry every day. Americans are spending a fortune to keep their skin looking healthy and youthful. But as it ages, the largest organ in the human body needs something more than a lotion … something that goes beyond “skin deep.”

A recent Harvard University study identified the loss of the vital coenzyme NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) from human cells as the body ages. This is inevitable, but as a fundamental coenzyme essential to DNA repair, that’s bad news for our cells, whose main purpose it is to repair themselves. The good news is that replenishing NAD stores through the precursor enzyme NMN (nicotinamide mononucleotide) is as easy as adding NMN to your daily supplement regime with top nutraceuticals such as Herbalmax’s Reinvigorator Enhanced NMN Formula.

A recent Harvard University study identified the loss of the vital coenzyme NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) from human cells as the body ages. The good news is that replenishing NAD stores through the precursor enzyme NMN (Nicotinamide Mononucleotide) is as easy as adding NMN to your daily supplement regime with top nutraceuticals such as Herbalmax’s Reinvigorator Enhanced NMN Formula.

What Does Sun Damage Look Like at the Cellular Level?

It may surprise you to learn that it typically takes 30 years for sun damage to appear. Remember in your 20s, when you played beach volleyball all day without sunscreen, then paid for it with sun blisters on your shoulders for a whole week? Sun damage from that weekend and others begins showing up in the form of sunspots and wrinkles during your 50s.

The Washington Post reported recently on a Yale University study in 2015 where it explained how UV sunburn leads to long-term damage and skin cancer, which occurs long after sun exposure ends.

When UV light is shined on a cell, it produces two enzymes. When combined, these enzymes create a powerful oxide — and a lot of energy. In humans, the reaction breaks apart the melanin, which is the main protector enzyme in our skin, and forms a high energy molecule. In fireflies, the result is a chemical glow. But for us, if there’s DNA nearby, that energy can go right into the DNA and do the damage usually done by photons of light.

UV rays have complex and mixed effects on human health. Nonetheless, excessive exposure to UV carries profound health risks, including atrophy, pigmentary changes, wrinkling and malignancy.

How Do I Stop Sun Damage Before It Takes Hold?

There are a few preventative measures that can be taken to avoid UV sun damage and the long-term risks of cancer associated with aging, but short of staying out of the sun entirely — which is impractical because removing sunshine completely presents its own health problems — exposure can and sometimes does sneak up on us.

Supplementing vitamin A or Retinol is vital if you overlook your sun protection this summer, and works by supporting cell turnover and collagen production, two key phenomena to natural skin reparation.

Higher-grade sunscreens, hats, sunglasses and loose clothing are everyday practical steps you can take to avoid UV rays in the first place, but what about DNA repair after the fact, after the sun’s damage is done?

Short of staying out of the sun entirely — which is impractical because removing sunshine completely presents its own health problems — exposure can and sometimes does sneak up on us.

NAD, NMN and DNA Repair

Let’s expand on the importance of NAD. NAD exists in all cells, not just human cells, but plants and all living things. NAD’s main task is assisting the cell’s survival in handling the daily onslaught of environmental changes and stressors. Things such as DNA repair and immune and inflammatory responses, which are the gatekeepers that stand in the way of us and disease, exist because of the presence of NAD. Depleting NAD stores during aging leaves people vulnerable as those essential functions break down, so replenishing NAD is fast becoming fundamental to living well, longer.

Mohamed Shaharuzzaman, Ph.D., senior research scientist at biotech firm Herbalmax, described the process of reviving NAD stores with NMN, and why products such as Herbalmax’s Reinvigorator Enhanced NMN Formula are so beneficial to skin care: “Unfortunately, NAD diminishes over time from our cells as we age, so most of us reach our 50th birthday with around half our original supplies,” he said. “Imagine an hourglass, and the sand slowly pouring from the upper chamber every day of our lives.”

NMN, the active precursor coenzyme to NAD and supplemental form, is present in products such as Reinvigorator, and is what modern biotech is all about, Shaharuzzaman said. “Pioneering discoveries like NMN catapult the fusion of current health and wellness trends with fact-based science into the mainstream beauty industry and puts the consumer firmly in the driver’s seat of his or her well-being.”

Good Health Is Cellular

Hindsight is 20/20, and although we can prevent sun damage today, when we head out into the sunshine, we cannot protect ourselves from the sunburn that already happened. The best way to take care of your skin now is by paying equal attention to the skin you can see and the cells you cannot.

Beauty may only be skin deep, but good health is truly cellular.