Photoaging: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment

Unlike chronological aging, photoaging of the skin is not a natural process. It is skin damage that happens because of prolonged skin exposure to the sun, specifically UVB and UVA rays. More than 70% of visible signs of aging are caused by UV-radiation. You can use anti-aging creams every day, but all of them are useless unless you protect your skin from the sun.

Signs of Photoaging  

Many issues associated with natural aging, indeed, caused by the sun or, rarely, artificial sources of UV-radiation. Signs of photoaging include all or some of these problems:

  • The skin loses its elasticity.
  • Dark, pigmented spots appear.
  • The skin tone becomes uneven and yellowish.
  • Spider veins may occur.
  • Skin becomes more rough and lax.
  • Wrinkles appear around the eyes and mouth.
  • Lips lose coloration and plumpness.

How Sun Rays Damage Our Skin

UVB-rays are mostly responsible for surface damage to the skin. They cause sunburns and damage cells of the inner layer of the skin, the epidermis. In fact, they change the DNA structure of the skin cells and activate a gene responsible for aging. Potentially, these changes might cause cancer.

UVA-rays can penetrate deeper, into the second layer of the skin, the dermis. They destroy collagen, which causes a defensive reaction of the skin when it tries to self-restore and starts producing more elastin. This process leads to the synthesis of enzyme metalloproteinases that, in turn, boosts the production of collagen. That might sound good but, indeed, it makes the skin thicker and leathery and contributes to the formation of wrinkles and, later, deep creases.

Prevention of Photoaging

The best way to avoid premature signs of aging is prevention. You should daily protect your skin from harmful sunrays with, at least, SPF-25 sunscreens. Finding a day cream that protects both from UVB and UVA rays might be a challenge, but it is important, as most of the visible signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines, and creases are caused by UVA.

In addition to sunblocks, you can use other ways to protect your skin from the sun rays:

  • Avoid explosion to the sun between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Wear sunglasses, hats, and clothes that cover the skin.
  • Use UV-blocking umbrellas.

How to Treat Photoaging

If your skin is already impaired by UV-radiation and you have skin roughness, dark spots and wrinkles, there are some recommendations on how to improve your skin condition and, if not to reverse photoaging, at least, to stop it and eliminate the visible signs.

  • Exfoliation helps to remove dead cells and improve skin tone.
  • Proper hydration your skin with moistening and hydrating agents, such as moistening creams, serums, panthenol, glycerin, etc. not only
  • Hyaluronic and azelaic acids not only keep skin hydrated but also boost healthy collagen production.
  • Aloe Vera is often used as first aid for skin burns, but it also works well to treat signs of photoaging.
  • Retinoids (derivatives of vitamin A) help skin renewal, which results in better skin tone and lightening of dark spots. Do not use retinol or products containing retinoids in the morning, as they destroyed by light.
  • Vitamin C and other antioxidants help to repair skin by blocking free radicals.

If you never fail to protect your skin and include these products to your daily skincare routine, you have a good chance to slow down visible signs of aging for years.

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