Photoaging refers to the damage that is done to the skin from prolonged exposure over a person’s lifetime to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Many of the same changes in the skin that occur as we get older are greatly accelerated by sun exposure. Those who have fair skin, have difficulty tanning and burn easily, are at greater risk for photoaging. Smoking also speeds up the photo aging process. Signs of skin changes from photo aging include:
- Wrinkles, fine and deep due to the breaking down of elastic tissue. Called “elastosis”
- Irregular pigmentation
- Rough texture
- Broken or dilated capillaries called “telangiectasis”
- Decreased number of Langerhan’s Cells which are found in the layer between the epidermis and dermis where the immunologic responses of the skin are controlled
- Areas of small, red, rough, sometimes scaly spots on the skin known as Actinic Keratosis Treating these areas quickly is important since they are precancerous.
Prevention is Key
Although it is impossible to avoid photodamage completely, there are a number of preventative measures you can take to decrease your exposure to the damaging effects of the sun:
- Wear sunscreen daily, regardless of the weather or season, containing UV absorbing ingredients such as cinnimates, salicylates and benzophenones and UV reflecting ingredients like titanium and zinc oxide. Even on a cloudy day, 80% of the sun’s rays reach the ground.
- Limit sun exposure between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm when UV radiation is at its peak.
- Apply sun protection products on all exposed areas of the skin at least 20 minutes before exposure.
- Apply 1oz of sunscreen (approximately the amount in the shot glass) to all exposed areas.
- Reapply often after swimming or sweating to keep the sun protection all its maximum effectiveness.
- Wear tightly woven fabrics made from polyester or nylon for maximum protection. Tightly woven cotton blends, more comfortable in the heat, are almost as effective.
3 Ways To Repair the Damage
Once the damage is done, you have a number of options to repair your skin and improve discoloration. It is important to note that hormonal factors can also cause hyperpigmentation, therefore it is important to have your skin evaluated by a licensed medical aesthetician to determine the best course of action for your skin.
- Topicals Treatments
Vitamins E, and Vitamin C enhance the ability of the skin cells to repair the damage done by UV radiation.
Retinoid are Vitamin A derivatives that can improve the look of sun damaged and aged skin. Retin-A. speeds the exfoliation process on the skin by 5-6 times and shrink oil glands, tighten pores, and diminish the look of scars and tighten skin.
Glycolic Acid and Alpha Hydroxy Acid increases cell turnover and exfoliates, resulting in a smoother, healthier looking skin tone and
Hydroquinone is an organic compound used in bleaching and lightening creams that reduce the melanin production in the skin in the skin
- Chemical Peels: A chemical solution which is applied to the skin to smooth the texture and remove the damaged outer layers reducing sun damage, hyperpigmentation, and malasma.
- Laser Treatments: IPL/BBL laser treatments are non-ablative treatment that uses high intensity pulses of light to improve the appearance of sunspots and freckles, vascular lesions including dilated and broken facial capillaries, persistent facial redness, rosacea and fine lines.
Licensed Medical Aesthetician
With over 19 years of experience in plastic surgery, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon, Dr. Larry Lickstein, brings with him a wealth of expertise to the Bitar Cosmetic Surgery Institute. He is a graduate of Princeton University and New York University School of Medicine, where he graduated at the top of his class. Dr. Larry Lickstein completed his surgical residency at Harvard Medical School, which culminated in being named chief resident in the Department of Surgery