• Anna Solana, science journalist

    Photoprotective pills

    14 Oct  Photoprotective pills

    Applying sunscreen is the most common way to protect the skin from the sunai??i??s radiation, but not everyone uses the most suitable product and not everyone remembers to re-apply it after a few hours. For some time now, more convenient alternatives for avoiding UV damage have been investigated. Oral photoprotectors could be one solution.

    Ai??

    These products are sold as a method to protect the skin of the entire body evenly and uniformly, with no need to worry about sweat or contact with clothes or water, as happens with sunscreens. Oral sunscreens essentially contain antioxidants (carotenoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, etc.) and vitamins (C, E) that restore damage to DNA caused by UV rays. So far, however, they have not been shown to provide sufficient protection to be able to replace sun creams and, even less, to replace coverup clothing, sunhats and sunglasses. Read More

  • Anna Solana, science journalist

    Sun damage continues after dark

    31 May Sun damage continues after dark

    It may take a few hours for you to realise that you got sunburned while sunbathing. Similarly, the mutations that ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause in DNA and that lead to the dreaded skin cancer continue for several hours after youai??i??ve left the beach or the mountains and the sun has gone down.

    Ai??

    Researchers at Yale University ai??i?? led by Douglas E. Brash, a professor of radiology and dermatology ai??i?? have published a study in Science that demonstrates that melanin, the pigment that darkens the skin to protect it from harm inflicted by UV rays, also has its downside. Certain components of this pigment are involved in the onset of DNA lesions that can cause the mutations responsible for melanoma ai??i?? which continue for up to four hours after sun exposure has ended. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    Whatai??i??s melanin for?

    16 May  Whatai??i??s melanin for?

    When we refer to the sun and to tanning, we refer to melanin. Melanin is produced when the sun touches the skin, making us go brown. This pigment darkens the skin to protect it from the damage caused by ultraviolet (UV) rays. Our hair and the iris of the eye also contain melanin. But what exactly is melanin and what is it for?

    Ai??

    Melanin is not unique to humans, but is to be found in most living things. Thanks to melanin, some animals can change their colour as camouflage and plants have different colours. The melanin pigment is derived from tyrosine, an amino acid essential for our body to function properly. Melanin is made in the melanocytes (epidermal cells) and also in the hair follicles. Itai??i??s a bit like a coloured crayon, responsible for brownish and reddish tones in the skin and hair. But its main function is, in fact, to protect us against the damaging effects of UV radiation. Read More

  • Núria Estapé, science journalist

    The skinai??i??s natural moisturizing factor

    31 Mar The skinai??i??s natural moisturizing factor

    Our skin is equipped with the perfect machinery whose function is to retain water and prevent dehydration. The skin, a vital organ in our body, has the crucial function of protecting all the other organs within it. And it does so through a complex network of molecules called the natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which ensures a delicately balanced epidermis, despite environmental variations in humidity and temperature.

    Ai??

    When we are born our skin is already equipped to stay hydrated and protected from UV rays. Time and environmental aggressions wear down the skinai??i??s mantle, with the result that we lose the water-retaining capacity in some of the beneficial substances in the skin, which should contain some 10% to 15% water. If the water level falls to under 10%, dry skin problems develop: the skin becomes brittle, rough and dull and is more prone to eczema and infections. How can we ensure that the skin retains a minimum of water? Read More

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