We all get older, and with time, our skin gets older too and can lose the fresh appearance it had when we were young. Wrinkles emerge around the area of the eyes, lines pop up near the lips and age spots can appear on the hands and other parts of the body. We all age, and some of the skin changes associated with getting older cannot be avoided.
But many skin conditions that make skin appear older are caused by exposure to the sun, which is something we can avoid and take action to prevent.
Photoaging is the damage skin receives from prolonged exposure during your lifetime, to UV radiation.
At Dermatology Associates P.C. of Norwood, Foxboro and Franklin, our professional staff can help you design skin care plans to protect your skin from the sun and maintain its youthful appearance.
The three layers of your skin include:
- The outermost skin, or epidermis.
- The middle layer, known as the dermis.
- The lowest layer – the subcutis.
The dermis includes elastin, collagen and other fibers that give support to skin structure. These are what give healthy skin a youthful appearance – and are elements that can be harmed by UV radiation.
The UV radiation (UVR) that impacts skin has two types of waves, known as UVA and UVB. After UVR penetrates skin, cells located in the dermis work to create melanin for the epidermis.
This body action helps produce tanned skin. Tanning is your body’s effort to prevent radiation from penetrating skin.
The Skin Cancer Foundation notes that UVB rays are shorter UVAs, and UVBs are the primary cause behind sunburned skin.
But UVA rays, which have a longer wavelength, cause much of the damage that comes with photoaging. The UVA rays strike deep into the dermis, where collagen fibers are damages. This leads to a higher production of abnormal elastin.
The high elastin amounts result in the creation of enzymes known as metalloproteinases. These rebuild damaged collagen, but can also degrade the collagen, which results in improperly rebuilt skin.
When this happens again and again with recurring UVA exposure, the incorrectly rebuilt skin transforms into wrinkles. The lower collagen can leave you with leathery skin.
Staying in the sun too long on a regular basis also leads to what are usually called liver spots, or age spots. The spots are not related to your liver or liver function – they are all about sun exposure.
Ages spots are known as solar lentigos – which are small areas of pigmentation caused by exposure to the sun. Age spots usually pop up on the arms, hands and face. Men often develop them on their backs.
The Skin Cancer Foundation stresses the best method of fighting photoaging is prevention. Use sunscreen each day that has an SPF of 15 or above on areas where photoaging is most likely to strike.
Don’t let photoaging damage your skin and rob it of its youthful glow.
To learn more about skin treatments, skin cancer prevention and other skin problems, contact Dermatology Associates today!