Is your skin ageing too soon? Know how to fight photoageing
One of the most common issues that people face is skin ageing. While ageing is a natural process, there are other factors that cause the skin to age rapidly, says Dr Pallavi Sule, dermatologist and aesthetic physician. “We usually think that our skin ages only after a certain age. That is untrue. There are numerous reasons for our skin to age, including photoageing,” she says.
What is photoageing?
Photoageing is premature ageing of the skin caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, primarily from the sun but also from artificial UV sources. The harmful UV rays damage the important proteins of the skin — collagen, elastin and fibers which are responsible for the youthful skin.
Sunlight is the main source of UV light. Ultraviolet radiation is composed of UVA, UVB and UVC rays. UVA rays penetrates skin deeper, harming the epidermal layer and the dermis, also damaging the collagen and elastin tissues. Thus, UVA rays are the culprit behind photoageing which includes wrinkling, leathery, sagging and other light-induced ageing. UVB rays penetrate the epidermis causing sunburn. The UVC rays have more energy and do not get through our atmosphere.
Early signs of photoageing
1. Dyspigmentation and appearance of pigmented spots – freckles, lentigens
2. Fine lines around the eyes, mouth and frown lines on forehead
3. Spider veins on the face and neck
4. Loss of lip colour and fullness
How can you prevent photoageing?
Photoaging is a cumulative process that happens over the years.
1. Avoiding sunlight by staying indoors between 11 am-3 pm, when the sun’s UV rays are strongest
2. Opting for sun-protective clothing like loose-fitting clothes
3. Wearing a broad spectrum sunscreen with a minimal SPF of 30, and repeated two hourly application of the same
4. Sunscreen is to be applied over all the sun exposed areas including face, ears, neck, and hands
5. Using umbrellas and trying to be under shade
How to treat photoaged skin?
According to National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), surgical approaches to the treatment of photoageing include face-lift, dermabrasion, chemical peeling, collagen and botulinum toxin injections, and laser re-surfacing. These approaches improve the clinical features of facial photoageing. Drug or pharmaceutical prevention and treatment of photoaged skin is still in its infancy.
“When it comes to photoageing, we should definitely talk about the high energy visible light or blue light. These are high frequency, shorter wavelengths of lights in boiler blue band in visible spectrum. The sources of this light are day light, fluorescent lightening, LEDs, TV screens, smartphones, tablets and computers. All these lights lead to permanent damage. That’s the reason why sunscreen is recommended even when indoors,” adds Dr Sule.