Do you ever find yourself looking in the mirror and wondering where your wrinkles are coming from? You know you’re too young to be getting them, but then again it doesn’t matter what your age is, it’s what you do! There is a little thing called photoaging. This is the premature aging of the skin due to chronic exposure of skin to ultraviolet light, predominantly from the sun or sun beds. This can range from wrinkled, discolored skin through to precancerous lesions, actinic keratoses. Keep on reading to find out more about photoaging and it’s consequences.
No matter what, our skin loses its youthful appearance as we get older. Wrinkles begin to form around our lips and eyes, age spots also surface on areas of our skin that are mostly exposed to the sun. For most people this becomes natural and unavoidable, however, if you’re experiencing these signs at an early age its because you’ve been exposed sun more than enough throughout your life, which can be avoided. This is what many experts and professionals like to call photoaging. The sun can effect our skin is two different ways; through UVA and UVB rays.
What Is Photoaging?
So as I just mentioned, our skin is often exposed to two different types of ultraviolet radiation; UVA and UVB rays. This is just another way of describing what photoaging is. UVB rays tend to be shorter than UVA rays, which are also the main culprit behind sunburns. UVA rays and their longer wavelength are responsible for much of the damage we often associate with photoaging. The penetrate deep into the dermis, where they damage collagen fibers. This damage causes increased production of abnormal elastin.
With repeated sun exposure, it can cause what we most commonly call age spots, or liver spots. An “age spot” is actually a solar lentigo or a small pigmentation caused by excessive sun exposure. You can usually find age spots on the hands, arms, and face. The UVR breaks down collagen, which is found in the dermis and is predominantly responsible for the strength of skin, providing firmness. Collagen in the dermis breaks down the ability to produce new collagen is reduced, causing skin to appear wrinkled and damaged.
Other symptoms that you may come across include: deep course wrinkles, discoloration (either lightening or darkening of the skin, predomininantly in patches or sallowness), dryness, telangiectasia (dilated or broken blood vessels close to the surface of the skin), atrophy, leathery or weathered appearance, elastosis (sagging skin), and actinic purpura.
How To Prevent Photoaging?
The best way to prevent the consequences of over sun exposure is through the daily application of sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to areas that are vulnerable to photoaging. It will not only help to prevent it, but can even reverse some of the signs you might already be dealing with. By reducing your exposure to to UV radiation, it will lower your risk of developing skin cancer and precancer.