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UV Destroys The Skin. But How?

UV Destroys The Skin. But How?

3 minute read

Fun Fact: Drinking produces acetaldehyde which makes the skin more sensitive to UV exposure causing a faster burn. Cocktail umbrella anyone? ☀️☂️

Rodrigo here, and we can finally rejoice as the chilled weather has come and gone yet again. And whilst some of us will be frolicking on beaches, lakes, or hanging out on rooftops catching those UVs it’s important to note the crazy amount of cellular damage the skin has to deal with while getting that tan you’ve always wanted (or never wanted). But how does UV directly impact the quality of the skin? Here are a few ways you probably didn’t know about. 

It’s a Mutagen

No Ninja Turtles here, this stuff permanently changes the DNA of skin cells. This upregulates the frequency of mutations the DNA makes naturally, making it the no.1 carcinogen on the hit list.

Upregulates Thicker Skin

Interestingly enough, UV exposure doesn’t only affect the skin on immediate impact, but also after the fact. Skin cells go through a cell cycle arrest which activates DNA repairing mechanisms including cell elimination if the damage is too great. After hours of exposure, skin cells (keratinocytes) begin to divide robustly1 and build thicker, rougher skin (called epidermal hyperplasia) helping the skin protect itself better from damage.

Attacks the Microbiome

Perhaps you’ve heard about the microbiome lately? It’s the plethora of microorganisms living on the surface of your skin that has a role in educating billions of T cells (immune response cells). It primes them to respond to similarly marked pathogenic (disease-causing) cousins. Introduce UV to the party and it triggers the production and release of antimicrobial peptides in the skin and contributes to DNA and membrane damage to these microorganisms. Thus, not getting the protection our skin needs to fight off some unwanted pathogens.

Here are some other fun facts about UV rays:


These are just a few of some of the insanely interesting effects that UV exposure has on the skin. With so many complex pathways, we are still undergoing clinical trials to know how UV radiation impacts certain functions while many other studies show how, in certain doses, UV radiation can treat skin diseases or disorders. All this can lead to further developments in sunscreen manufacturing and treating the skin correctly with UV.  But alas, in the end, we all still need to slap on that mineral sunscreen until we come up with a better way to block those UVs. 

Is it too late and need to reduce some of the damage from the weekend? Find out more about GOA’s prime collection to take down rougher, damaged skin from over-UV exposure.


1. Short- and long-term effects of UV radiation on the pigmentation of human skin. J. Investig. Dermatol. Symp. Proc. 2009, 14, 32–35.

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