Our skin protects its heads with micro-caps :) !

If you sleep well, eat well the body and its cells will protect you. Speaking about protection, it is important for the skin to avoid excess of sun exposure. In fact the sun as two faces. On one side, it helps the skin to generate key molecules such as Vit D3, on the other side, the sun and its UV radiations can really damage the skin. The sun is responsible for the so called « photo-ageing ». The skin cells are damaged by aggressors such as UV radiation from the sun. When one speaks about UV radiation, you will often hear about 2 UV radiations. The UVB and UVA.  The UVBs reach the epidermis, The UVAs go deeper in our skin up to the dermis !

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Our skin is not completely alone to fight the UVs. In the epidermis we have a key molecule called the melanin which can protect us little bit from the sun. The melanin plays the role of umbrella in your skin, the melanin can filter up to 90% of UV radiation.  To play its key role, the melanin moves from the melanocytes to the keratinocytes and then an incredible phenomena happens. I discovered it during my studies and I never forgot it, it is called the « supra nuclear capping of melanin » in the skin cells, the keratinocytes. I represented it in my below sketch !

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Well, this mecanism sounds a little bit complex or intimidating, it is very simple to understand, once synthesized the melanin migrates from the melanocytes, the cells which produce the melanin, to the keratinocytes and then the magic happens ! Our friend the melanin moves above the nucleus of the keratinocyte cells like tiny micro-caps, the « heads of the cells » are protected :). As a result, the cells can survive better, differentiate and play their important role of protection.

This « melanin capping » is again a wonderful example of how our skin protects us every day !!!

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Cosmetic products can really protect us from the excess of UV radiations when containing antioxidants and Solar Protection Factor (SPF) in particular. My advice however is to stay away from the sun when you spend some time at a place with a lot of sun. Do not stay hours without protection, protect the kids and yourself, long sleeves T-shirts, hats and glasses are a must at the beach and if you spend time there, apply every 20 minutes a cosmetic with SPF.

The skin is alive, be gentle with it 🙂 !

Alexandre R Rio.

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