Photo aging of the skin: everything you need to know about it

How does photo-aging differ from chrono-aging, why is it no safer in the city than on the beach, and how to avoid premature appearance of wrinkles.

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What is photoaging?

As you can guess from the name, photoaging is a process of changing the condition and structure of the skin caused by regular exposure to sunlight. In another way, it is also called heliodermatitis, actinic dermatitis or premature aging of the skin. Photoaging should not be confused with the natural aging of the skin caused by hormonal changes in the body. Of course, these two processes can go in parallel, but they still have different symptoms, signs and causes, which means that they need to be treated differently.

Causes and consequences of photoaging

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The first ideas about photoaging were obtained in the late 1980s, when it was discovered that the sun could be the cause of previously considered exclusively age-related skin changes.

Today, dermatologists and cosmetologists around the world note differences in the processes of chrono- and photo-aging of the skin, highlighting various causes, symptoms and consequences of changes. Age-related skin aging is less dependent on external factors and more on genetic predisposition and hormonal processes occurring in the body. Photoaging, on the contrary, is considered a special type of damage to the skin and is not caused by internal processes of the body.

The main reason for such changes is excessive exposure to sunlight on the skin and, as a result, disruption of the epidermis renewal process. The deterioration of cellular structures as a result of exposure to harmful factors, in this case UV radiation, manifests itself in loss of tone, dryness, lethargy and sagging of the skin, the appearance of wrinkles and age spots.

It is worth explaining that the harm is caused by excessive exposure to UV radiation on our skin and neglect of protective equipment. This becomes especially clear when comparing open and inaccessible areas of the skin to the sun. In small doses, the sun is necessary for our body to strengthen the immune system, the synthesis of vitamin D and serotonin.

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How does photoaging happen

Today, photoaging is usually classified according to the Glogau scale, which distinguishes four stages of skin aging depending on age and the signs that have appeared. According to this classification, our skin gradually goes through all stages of changes and, depending on the condition, appropriate treatment should be prescribed.

  1. No wrinkles. Premature photoaging is manifested by light pigmentation, the absence of visible deep wrinkles and the absence of keratosis. Age from 20 to 35 years.
  2. Photoaging of moderate severity, manifested by the formation of facial wrinkles around the mouth and eyes. There are pronounced changes in skin pigmentation. It is observed at the age of 35 to 50 years.
  3. Pronounced photoaging is characterized by an abundance of wrinkles, visible even at rest, the presence of obvious symptoms of telangiectasia, as well as dyschromia. It is traditionally manifested at the age of over 50 years.
  4. Photoaging of extreme severity is observed at the age of 60 to 80 years.  The skin becomes yellow-gray, pronounced wrinkles appear on the entire surface of the skin, there may be pre-malignant changes in the skin.

Who is most susceptible to photoaging

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It is believed that melanin is the main protector of human skin from ultraviolet radiation. The more pigment the skin cells produce, the less damage the sun’s rays cause. From this we can conclude that the lighter the skin, the higher the risk of early signs of photoaging.

Women are also strongly affected by ultraviolet radiation during hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause, various hormonal disorders). This is due to the fact that the imbalance of estrogen and progesterone increases the sensitivity of the skin to UV radiation. As a result, increased pigmentation of the skin.

How to protect your skin from photoaging

To preserve the youth and attractiveness of the skin is not an easy task. However, it is still possible to slow down photoaging. It is enough not to forget to use sunscreens and not to neglect them not only at the resort, but also in the city. Do not forget that UV radiation comes to us not only with direct sunlight on a hot summer afternoon. Ultraviolet light enters the earth around the clock, it can be reflected from various surfaces, pass through clouds, clouds, water and even light clothing, which is why it is so important to use protective equipment all year round and regardless of weather conditions.

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