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Ultraviolet Light, Your Skin and the Langerhans Cells

LangerhanSun and Skin Care Protections cells are very sensitive to damage from ultraviolet (UV) light. We know that UV light can suppress immune function. UV light is sometimes used to treat certain autoimmune skin diseases.

Even with brief exposure to UV light, the skin can lose some Langerhans cells. When the first cell in the immune reaction chain is lost, the rest of the immune system is in trouble. It is the Langerhans cell that fields information on new invaders. They travel to the lymph nodes to present new information to the T-cells. Absent these events, cell mediated immune response is impossible and B cell/antibody response may be seriously impaired. Lack of adequate immune protection can lead to higher rates of infections and cancer.

Conventional sunscreens, while reducing sunburn, do not provide adequate protection from certain skin tumors, including melanoma.

The effect of UV light on occurrence of other types of tumors is also suspected. Immunosuppression caused by UV radiation affects the whole body. It can even be measured in remote parts of the body that have not been exposed to radiation.

UV Light Radiation ExposureUV light creates an enormous amount of free radicals. These free radicals can damage the healthy cells. Intracellular antioxidants provide only partial protection. Specialized cells called melanocytes produce melanin, a potent free-radical scavenger and photoprotector.

Melanin is also responsible for the color of tanned skin. When melanocytes release melanin, it is distributed throughout the skin and becomes incorporated into the dermal cells, but not into Langerhans cells. Even in tanned skin, UV-light exposure causes the disappearance of Langerhans cells and, consequently, suppresses immune function.

Research using Beta 1, 3-D glucan shows that it protects Langerhans cells after UV-exposure[1].

A specific receptor on the extensions of the Langerhans cells recognize Beta 1, 3-D glucan[2]. As a result, Langerhans cells become activated and more resistant to damage. This is especially effective against hydroxyl radical - the most abundant free radical produced from UV-radiation. This combination of cell activation and free-radical scavenging ability allows protection of vulnerable Langerhans cells from the effects of UV-radiation. This helps these cells continue their important defensive and regulating functions in the skin. This reduces the risks of UV-related immunosuppression.

Certain types of UV light (UVA) are more damaging to the immune system even though they cause less sunburn. Modern FDA-approved sunscreen strength is measured by its ability to prevent redness (so called SPF, sun-protecting factor), which is generated mostly by the UVB spectrum. Even if sunscreen prevents sunburn, it doesn't protect immune function. Immunosuppression then becomes the major culprit in tumor development.

Sun Burn TipsWhen buying a sunscreen-make sure that it protects against both UVB and UVA parts of the spectrum. Presumably, a sunscreen and beta glucan combination would be your best choice.

UV light is thought to be only one of many environmental agents that can alter Langerhans cell function. Infection with viruses, notably HIV and viral hepatitis, can "turn off" Langerhans cells.

Chronic infection may lead to slow or incomplete skin healing. Use Formula III to help avoid such circumstances.

Wound-healing properties of beta glucan are well established in the literature. Facts confirm that the Langerhans cells are intimately involved in entire immune system function.

Beta-1, 3-D glucan can be applied externally to achieve good results. The benefits include skin rejuvenation, prevention and treatment of UV-related skin damage, and wound healing. However, this use - although shown to be effective for almost 20 years, has not been widely utilized.

[1] Anti-Aging Skin Care Ingredient Technologies, Cosmetic Dermatology, Burgess, C., Graf, J. ISBN 978-3-540-23064-9