Photoaging

Stunning Facts About Photoaging & 5 Practices To Prevent It

Photoaging caused due to prolonged exposure to the sun can accelerate changes in your skin and damage it extensively, as you age.

Aging is considered to be the “Nature’s way” and you have been aging since the day you were born. Even thorough it is natural, it is quite strange to see some people age faster as compared to others, who tend to look ageless.

You might have won the lottery considering your genetic makeup, but there is something else that plays a bigger role in the aging of your skin. It might be difficult for you to fathom but prolonged exposure to the sun can contribute to 80% of aging and its visible signs.

This phenomenon is known as photoaging, and we will be going in-depth and understanding the essential steps that you can take to prevent or repair it.

The Sun & Its Light

One of the essential parts of life, the sun, contributes majorly to your well-being and plays a crucial role to synthesize Vitamin D. Keeping aside the positive aspects, the sun also emits electromagnetic radiation.

Photoaging

This might sound complicated to you, but you have already heard about UVA (Ultraviolet A) & UVB (Ultraviolet B) radiations and these are the two types of radiation that affect your skin in the long as well as in the short run.

UVA radiations damage the epidermis and penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin. They harm the epidermal cells while damaging the collagen and elastin, present in the deeper layers.

UVB radiation penetrates the outer layer of the skin and damages the DNA in the epidermis.

The short-term effects can be something as mean as a scorching sunburn, while the long-term effects can cause your skin to age prematurely (photoaging) which can eventually lead to skin cancer.

UVA & UVB

The damage caused by the sun is usually called photoaging but is also known by several other names like solar damage, sun damage, or photodamage. This happens when the UV (Ultraviolet) light reaches the skin’s surface, which is not protected by sunscreen, causing DNA changes in the cells. Dermatologists say that, since the changes occur in the dermis, the deepest layer, it can take several years for you to spot the visible signs of damage.

What Is Photoaging?

Photoaging is basically made up of two words: photo & aging. The prefix “photo” refers to “light” and in this particular scenario, the UV radiation present in the sunlight.

As per experts, Photoaging is the process where UV radiation catalyzes the process of skin aging, which contributes to the formation of dark spots and fine lines.

And this is how it happens:

Step 1

UV radiation reaches the skin

We have previously mentioned UVA rays, which are the main culprits to cause long-term skin damage and photoaging. They penetrate deep into the skin and break down collagen, which eventually causes fine lines and wrinkles.

UVA radiation is extremely sneaky. They do not burn the skin or bring about any immediate changes, but you cannot take a time-out in their case.

UVA rays can reach your skin and it does not matter if you are indoors or outdoors. They can easily pass through your windows and bring about long-term effects on your skin.

Step 2

Formation of Free Radicals in the body

The UVA radiation, after reaching the skin, provokes the formation of free radicals or unstable molecules. These harmful molecules contribute to the breakdown of proteins in the deep skin layers and cause cell, as well as DNA damage.

Step 3

The body reacts to the Free Radicals

There is a natural defence at work, that faces an army of free radicals, which is the production of antioxidants. Antioxidants aid in the neutralization of free radicals and eventually counter the damage caused by UV rays.

step 4

The appearance of the Signs of Aging

Sometimes it becomes a little too much for the natural antioxidant defences to ward off these free radicals, and this is where the problem lies.

This creates “oxidative stress”, which causes the aforementioned signs of aging.

Can I Suffer From Photoaging?

Every one of us is susceptible to photoaging, but the amount of skin damage that you can sustain depends on several factors like the type of your skin and geographical factors like latitude and climate.

Generally, people with lighter skin are more susceptible, while people with darker skin develop uneven dark patches, also known as melasma.

Fitzpatrick Skin

Experts utilize the Fitzpatrick’s Scale to find out the skin’s phototype (skin colour) and calculate its risks:

Type I- People with pale skin, blonde hair, and light-coloured eyes are susceptible to sunburns and not to tans.

Type II- People with fair skin, who have light-coloured eyes. They too burn quite easily and are susceptible to tanning.

Type III-  People with medium light skin, who burn initially but later tans.

Type IV- People with light brown skin, get tanned along with minimal skin burns.

Type V- People with medium brown skin who do not burn usually.

Type VI- People with dark brown or black skin, are susceptible to getting tanned easily but never sunburnt.

How Will You Know If Your Skin Is Sun-Damaged?

The process of aging is natural and inevitable and your body tends to slow down elastin and collagen production, which contributes to the lack of skin elasticity.

When you add the harmful effects of the sun to the mix, it can cause the signs of aging to appear early, sometimes as early as 20 years. 

Bearing signs of aging are nothing to be afraid of as they are signs of respect and experience, however, you do not want to speed such things up.

Photodamage can cause several skin-related concerns, like:

Fine lines

Fine Lines and Wrinkles

Dark Spots and Uneven Skin Tone

Dark spots
Dullness

Dullness

Loss of Firmness

loss of firmness

Is It Possible to Prevent Photoaging?

There are 4 ways by which you can keep away from photoaging and decrease the number of UV rays absorbed by the skin.

You need to imbibe these photo-friendly habits and the earlier you do it, the better it is for your skin’s overall appearance.

1: Choose A Good Sunscreen

You need to apply sunscreen daily which would decrease the absorption of UV radiation into the skin, and simultaneously protect the skin from the disastrous exposure caused by the sun. You need to make sure that you protect your skin from radiation, each and every day, and in every season.

Choose a sunscreen that offers a high SPF, which provides broad-spectrum protection and helps in the prevention of the visible signs of aging. The trick is to be consistent in its application, so, make it a staple product in your daily skincare routine.

2: Apply The Sunscreen Properly

Having sunscreen in your skincare routine is a must, but it is also important to know the right way, and how to apply sunscreen.

a: You need to pay attention to the areas which are regularly exposed to the sun, especially your face and neck, which usually helps to reduce the visible signs of aging.

b: You need to build up a morning skincare routine where you can utilize the benefits of sunscreen. Apply the sunscreen 20 to 30 minutes before being exposed to the sun and reapply the sun protection product every two hours, at least.

c: The “2-Finger Rule” needs to be followed as far as the quantity is concerned. Distribute the sunscreen, evenly, on your fingers (the index and the middle finger), from the tip to the bottom of the finger, which would shield your face and neck against the harmful UV rays. If you are using body sunscreen, 2 “shot glasses” is considered to be an optimum amount.

d: Lips are also prone to the visible signs of aging, as the skin on the lips is pretty delicate. Always wear a lip balm with an SPF of 30, at least.

3: Avoid Being Under The Sun

It might be possible for “Superman” to turn off the sun, but the same does not apply to you. All you can do is limit your sun exposure when the time is critical and the radiation causes the most harm. Try to limit yourself from going out under the sun from 10 am to 4 pm, when the Ultraviolet radiations are at their peak.

You can check out the UV index in your area to get the correct information on this.

Usually, it ranges from 8-12 on the index.

uv index

4: Build Up A Sun-Protection Wardrobe

You can opt for protective clothing to shield your skin from the sun. Always protect the sensitive areas of your body, which include your face, neck, and even your chest.

You can also protect your eyes from damage by putting on good-quality sunglasses.

Can You Repair Your Sun-Damaged Skin?

Have you noticed certain changes in your skin and you’re wondering if it has become too late to reverse the damage?

Photoaging

Don’t worry, we are sharing 3 top things that can help you fight against the signs of photoaging. So, take out your notebooks and put your pen to the test!

1: Repair The Stressed Skin With Antioxidants

Antioxidants are the perfect ingredients to fight against oxidative stress and photoaging. If you are planning to repair photoaging due to sun damage, then go for products that contain Vitamin C and other powerful antioxidants.

2: Revitalize Your Skin With Effective Ingredients

Photoaging

If your dark spots and uneven skin have become the focus of your appearance, then look for skin-brightening formulas that contain ingredients like Niacinamide. These effective ingredients can help you correct these imperfections, even out your skin tone, and manage the appearance of dark spots.

If you feel that wrinkles have taken over your skin, then look for products that have Hyaluronic Acid in them, as they bear moisturizing and firming properties. This hydration-boosting ingredient plays a major role in the repair of your skin while reducing the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

3: Look For Sunscreens That Offer More Benefits

Science is always on the move and so are innovative formulas. Look for a sunscreen that can offer something more than just plain-old photoprotection, it should also reverse its effects.

The process of photoaging might be quite complicated to the simple mind, but following an anti-photoaging routine is extremely simple. All you need to do is to add a layer of sun protection and antioxidative ingredients to your skincare regime, which is the best bet you can have to attain healthy and beautiful skin, no matter what your age is.

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