Photoaging is a term that describes changes seen on the skin from cumulative exposure to UV light over your lifetime. Persons exposed to significant doses of sunlight and artificial UV (like tanning beds) can develop premature anatomical changes within the skin.
Signs of photoaging include:
- Loss of skin tightness referred to laxity
- Rhytides (wrinkles)
- Telangiectasias (small permanent vessels)
- Pigmented brown spots referred to as solar lentigines or freckles
- Poiklioderma of Civatte –red brown patches with thinning of the skin
- Cutis Rhomboidalis Nuchae – deep wrinkling with a yellow leathery appearance to the skin seen on the neck
All of the changes listed above are considered cosmetic. In addition to these changes, pre-malignant spots known as actinic keratosis, and more importantly, skin cancers, can arise as a result of chronic UV exposure.
How much sun exposure is in your history combined with your natural skin color result in the changes seen in photoaging. Those who are light skin types with a history of extensive time spent outdoors, are at high risk for these changes on the skin, which can start in very early life.
To prevent the changes described above:
- Wear a broad brimmed hat that covers your ears, neck and chest.
- Wear sun protective clothing (UPF protective factor).
- Use a Broad Spectrum sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher and don’t forget to reapply and check the expiration.
- For best prevention, use sunscreen daily as part of your morning routine, not only when planning to spend significant time outdoors.
- Avoid time outdoors at the peak of the sun’s intensity (the 4 hour window surrounding the noon hour).
- Avoid indoor tanning
- Don’t forget your sunglasses!
How can photoaging be treated?
Further changes of photoaging can always be prevented by following the advice above. Start no matter what age you are!
- Topical preparations containing Vitamin A, either in prescription form or in a trusted quality over the counter product, can provide ongoing turnover of keratinocytes, lightly smoothing fine lines and softening dyspigmentation.
- Chemical peels such as the 30% salicylic acid peel offered in our clinic improve fine lines, dyspigmentation and provide an overall rejuvenation of the skin
- Light therapies such as our Intense Pulsed Light treatment can target red and brown changes on the skin
- Laser resurfacing procedures such as the Erbium:Yag Fractional Ablative Dual Mode treatment can provide more dramatic overall resurfacing to more effectively target the deep wrinkles and lines. Be prepared for some downtime!
- Neurotoxin and dermal filler injections can be used to target rhytides (also known as wrinkles)
To see for yourself how photoaging affects your skin, come see us today!