You are my sunshine
In that, you may have damaged me
In ways I won’t know about for years to come

Photoaging it’s an ambiguous sounding word.

But it simply means premature ageing, due to repeated exposure to ultraviolet light.

And it’s true of course we are all ageing.

But photo damage, is the most common and pervasive change of ageing I see in my clinic.

I would go far as to say, that it is responsible for most of the skin changes that we think of as a normal part of ageing.

This is especially true of UVA rays, after all their not dubbed the ageing ray for nothing.

PHOTO (SUN) DAMAGED SKIN

THE NATURALLY AGEING FACE 

  • The epidermis is plump and healthy
  • Crows feet form around the eyes
  • A few spider veins and age spots
  • Lines and wrinkles appear in natural creases from expression

THE PHOTO DAMAGED FACE 

  • Skin becomes sallow, an almost yellow discolouration
  • Telangiectasias appear, which are small dilated capillaries
  • Lines appear in areas with no movement, like the cheeks
  • Ealstosis the destruction of elastic tissue occurs, this causes sagging, lines and wrinkles
  • Discoloured areas of skin become apparent, this is referred to as mottled pigmentation
  • Skins texture changes, the skin becomes coarse and the epidermis starts to thicken
  • Chromosones in the skin cells get damaged, which are strands of DNA in the body, this increases precancerous actinic keratosis, and cancerous skin lesions such as melanoma
  • UV radiation causes free radicals, unstable oxygen molecules that damage cell function, causing wrinkles, by activating metalloproteinase, which breaks down collagen fibres our internal scaffolding

THE GLOUCAU CLASSIFICATION

But how can you tell if your skin is damaged?

Fortunately, Dr. Richard Glogau came up with a classification system, that helps people evaluate how aged their skin looks.

Recognising where you are on the scale is pretty straightforward.

It’s a really cool tool for helping you to evaluate your skin, which ultimately ensures that you are using the correct treatments and products.

MILD PHOTOAGING

  • Type 1
  • Minimal pigment change
  • Keratosis is not yet visible
  • Little or no make up for coverage is required
  • This is typical of someone that is usually aged between 28-35
  • There are few if any wrinkles or scars present, at this age

MODERATE PHOTOAGING

  • Type 2
  • The colour of the skin is sallow
  • Typically aged between 35-50
  • Keratosis is palpable but not visible
  • Some mild scarring is usually present
  • Smile lines may start to become visible
  • Skin type still requires a light cover up
  • Early signs of lines and wrinkles will be in motion, such as smile lines

ADVANCED PHOTOAGING

  • Type 3
  • Typically aged between 50-65
  • Keratosis is now very present
  • The need to wear make up is more apparent
  • Obvious discolouration of the skin is evident
  • Wrinkles are now apparent, even when not smiling
  • Telangiectasias often referred to as broken capillaries are now very visible

SEVERE PHOTOAGING

  • Type 4
  • Aged between 60-75
  • Sallow-yellow, greyish skin colour
  • Severe wrinkling throughout
  • Little to no sign of normal skin
  • Gravitational lines are apparent
  • Dynamic actinic keratosis, with or without skin cancer

WHICH TYPE ARE YOU

Sure, we are all going to start out in life as a TYPE 1, with smooth, unblemished, wrinkle free skin.

But as we move in to our late twenties and mid thirties. we may notice a little smile line appear at the corner of the eyes or mouth, or a small brown spot appear out of nowhere, welcome to TYPE 2.

A few years later and uh oh, that smile line is now really visible, and yet when you are no longer smiling that line is still showing.

That faint brown spot is also becoming more obvious, this can only mean one thing: it’s TYPE 3.

All of a sudden wrinkles seem to be appearing everywhere and your skin texture is super irregular.

Your skin appears sallow and very dry; all those years of sun worshipping and not knowing about damaging UVA rays are starting to haunt you.

Its official you are now TYPE 4.

TREATING PHOTOAGING

According to Dr. Glogau, TYPE 1 and 2 should be all about protection, nourishment and prevention.

TYPE 3’s and 4’s can benefit from topical retinoids, peptides and vitamins.

You still want to use a good skincare routine in place, to keep your skin in a healthy condition, it just requires more TLC.

In my opinion an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to maintaining a youthful skin.

 

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