Most of the damage inflicted on the skin as people get older is accelerated by prolonged sun exposure. Photoaging is the damage caused by harmful UV radiation, which can result in the appearance of wrinkles, irregular pigmentation, broken blood vessels and loss of skin elasticity. In extreme cases, photoaging is also a leading cause of skin cancers.

Ageing skin is a natural biological process that is also partly down to a person's genes, but its effects can be lessened by reducing exposure to external factors of photoaging.

The effects of photoaging on the skin

There are many health risks associated with extended exposure to UV rays, and the effects of photoaging are among the most well documented. If a person's skin is directly exposed to the sun's rays throughout their life it will lose its elasticity, which can result in the early appearance of wrinkles on the face and other exposed areas. Wrinkles on the face are the most instantly recognisable sign of ageing, and can make a person affected by photoaging appear much older than they really are.

The effects of photoaging vary among people of different ethnicities. While those with lighter skin tend to show its effects most prominently through wrinkles, darker skin tones tend to display photoaging as dark spots, resulting in uneven skin pigmentation. Photoaging can also cause drooping skin, which can result in a tired and prematurely aged appearance. Extreme cases of photoaging are referred to as photodamage.

Photoaging - prevention and treatment

People who are regularly exposed to direct sunlight can take preventative steps to lessen the effects of photoaging, such as shielding their faces with hats and sunglasses. Skin toners can help to cover up dark spots that result through photoaging.

Some cosmetic surgery treatments can help combat the effects of photoaging and produce a younger looking complexion. Face lift procedures are long-lasting treatments designed to restore firmness to the skin and alleviate wrinkles. Face lifts can be carried out on specific areas of the face most affected by photoaging, or patients can opt for a full facelift and neck lift.

There are also non surgical solutions available to combat photoaging, most significantly wrinkle-relaxing injections that can reduce the appearance of frown lines as well as deep wrinkles caused by sun exposure.

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