Everyone experiences skin aging. Just like the rest of your body, aging of the skin is just a part of life. But not everyone realizes exactly what causes your skin to age, or what makes it age faster or slower. There are ways to protect your skin from factors that make it age. In fact, there are ways to prevent your skin from aging prematurely. IN this article, we will discuss one of the types of premature aging and how to prevent photoaging.
What Is Photoaging?
When your skin ages too quickly, it could be as a result of repeated exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation mostly comes from sunlight, though it can sometimes come from artificial UV sources. Artificial sources of UV radiation include tanning booths, black lights, halogen lights, and even fluorescent and incandescent lights. That means that you can damage your skin, even just sitting at work. The word “photoaging” is partially derived from Greek, since “phos” means “light.” So, photoaging is essentially aging caused by UV exposure to the skin through light.
What Are the Signs of Photoaging?
The signs of photo-aging are much like the signs of aging caused by time and natural skin elasticity decline. Because UVA rays can penetrate deep into the skin and destroy collagen, you can see signs of collagen decline over time. This can include deep wrinkles. But, there are signs of aging that are specific to photoaging. This includes freckles, uneven skin tone, and discolored spots on your face, the backs of your hands, your arms, your chest, or your upper back (places that are usually in direct sunlight). A more immediate sign of photoaging is getting a tan. This is a sign that your dermal cells are producing melanin in an effort to block UV radiation from damaging your body. Any color is a sign that you are too exposed to sunlight.
What Are the Dangers of Photoaging?
Besides the unsightly signs of aging that you may experience, such as wrinkles, there are many health risks to UV overexposure. UV damage to collagen actually increases the production of abnormal elastin and enzymes, which are supposed to rebuild damaged collagen. This leads to your body making mistakes when rebuilding your skin. Not only can this lead to wrinkles, but it can lead to skin cancer.
How to Prevent Photoaging
The obvious answer to preventing UV radiation is to avoid it. You should avoid being outside when the sun is strongest, such as between 10 AM and 2 PM. However, if you can’t avoid being outside for whatever reason, then it’s important to create as much of a barrier between you and the radiation as possible. You should wear a hat, sunglasses, and boldly-colored clothing to deflect sunlight. And, you should always wear sunscreen that defends against both UVA and UVB rays. Remember that you can still get hit by UV rays through glass and clouds, so you should always wear sunscreen on your face, just to be safe.