What is Photoaging?

August 1, 2013 - by

Summer is here, and it’s time to focus on protecting yourself from the sun. Perhaps you know that the leading cause of premature aging is sun damage; the actual term for this is photoaging. Photoaging causes a variety of unwelcome changes to the skin: age or liver spots, wrinkles, changes in skin tone, broken blood vessels, tough leathery skin, and even skin cancers.

If you’ve ever wondered how the sun damages your skin, causing it to start looking discolored, wrinkled, and old before its time, the culprit is ultraviolet radiation (UV). Two types of UV affect the skin, UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are responsible for sunburn, but the longer UVA rays are actually more detrimental. Because UVA rays travel deep into the middle layer of the skin—the dermis—they damage the collagen and elastin found there. Collagen and elastin provide structure and support for the skin, giving the skin its youthful resilience. When these two components become damaged, premature aging of the skin occurs.

The skin attempts to protect itself against sun damage by producing melanin to keep harmful rays from penetrating the skin. This, of course, is tanning. While some view it as a sign of health, the presence of a tan means that the skin has already sustained damage from the sun.

As opposed to chronologic aging, which can’t be prevented, the effects of photoaging can be reduced very simply with the regular application of a broad-spectrum sunscreen. These products protect against both types of harmful UV rays,
preventing damage from sun exposure.

If you’re interested in reversing damage caused from sun exposure, we’d love to talk to you about how to combat photoaging. Here are several options:

  • Chemical peels are a great option for reversing aging due to sun damage. A peel removes the damaged outer layers of skin, revealing healthy skin below. After a peel, the skin is smoother and brighter, with improved texture.
  • Microdermabrasion also removes damaged skin cells by exfoliation. This procedure promotes the production of new skin cells and encourages repair of existing cells by drawing oxygen and nutrients to the surface of the skin.
  • Professional grade skin care products also help prevent and repair damaged skin. We offer several different lines that nourish your skin and protect it from sun damage, including ProCyte with its patented copper peptide technology, and SkinCeuticals products, which are rich in antioxidants and Vitamin C.

Photoaging happens to everyone to some degree. Sunscreen is a must for preventing excessive damage, but if you’re already seeing wrinkles, spots, and other evidence of sun damage, come talk to us about which treatment would work best for you. If you are also concerned about changes from chronologic aging, we’re happy to discuss a comprehensive facial rejuvenation approach with you.

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