When we think of ageing, we usually think of wrinkles.
But discolouration is as much a sign of prematurely aged skin.
Skin texture starts to change, and dark, mottled spots appear.
Your skin may become thicker and pores more visible.
Hello and welcome to the world of photo ageing.
Fortunately, there is a cool little tool that can help assess these changes in your skin.
But what is it, and how do you use it?
Fear not; we clinical estheticians here at NC have you covered.
To help you determine the degree of photoaging in your skin.
What Exactly is the Glouca Scale?
Dr. Richard Glogau developed the Glouca scale classification system.
A method that allows you to objectively measure the severity of wrinkles and photoaging, or premature ageing in your skin.
Photo ageing is caused by too much exposure to damaging ultraviolet rays, a broad term that is often used in esthetician circles.
Why? Because we use it to assess wrinkle development and pigmentation in our client’s skin.
Once we know where their skin sits on this scale, we are better positioned to select appropriate treatment and aftercare prevention for them.
Helping them reverse some of the damage done and prevent accelerated ageing.
What Does Photo Aging Look Like?
- rough, scaly patches may be evident
- brown pigmentation and age spots are more visible
- small blood vessels are prominent (telangiectasia)
- wrinkles are present on the entire face when at rest or moving
- the skin may be thickened and yellow
- pre-cancerous skin changes such as actinic keratosis may be evident
The Gloucau Scale
Recognising where you are on the scale is relatively straightforward.
But to make it easy for you, we have broken it down.
There are essentially four types on the Glogau Scale; each category corresponds with an estimated age range.
Mild Photo Aging
- minimal pigment change
- keratosis is not yet visible
- little or no makeup for coverage is required
- this is typical of someone who is usually aged between 28 and 35
- there are few, if any, wrinkles or scars present at this age
Moderate Photo Ageing
- crows feet may appear around the eyes
- typically aged between 35-50
- keratosis is palpable but not visible
- some mild scarring is usually present
- smile lines may start to become visible
- the skin type still requires only a light coverage
- early signs of lines and wrinkles may be evident
Advanced Photo Ageing
- typically aged between 50-65
- keratosis may now be present
- the need to wear makeup is more apparent
- noticeable discolouration of the skin is evident
- wrinkles are more pronounced, even when not smiling
- telangiectasia, often referred to as broken capillaries, are frequently visible
Severe Photo Aging
- aged between 60-75
- sallow-yellow, greyish skin colour
- deep wrinkling throughout the face
- little to no sign of normal skin
- gravitational lines are apparent
- skin can be very dull, flaky and dry
- dynamic actinic keratosis, with or without skin cancer, may be evident
The Types of UV Radiation?
It’s crucial here to touch upon the different types of UV radiation.
Whilst UVA is dubbed the ageing ray, it is essential to note that UVB also causes wrinkles and breaks down collagen, creating damaging free radicals that inhibit your skin’s natural repair mechanisms.
So, correctly using sunscreen to block UVA and UVB radiation is essential in your battle against ageing.
The types of UV can be divided into three different categories, each based on different wavelengths:
It is dubbed the ageing ray. This penetrates deep into your skin and the dermis, undermining collagen and elastin in your skin’s structural scaffolding.
This is known as the burning ray because it is the primary UV responsible for sunburn.
This affects the outer layer of your skin, the epidermis.
The intensity of this UV light will depend on the time of day your skin is exposed to it and the season. Interestingly, it does not penetrate glass.
This is the UV ray that is absorbed by the atmosphere and does not cause damage to your skin.
To conclude, The naked truth
Hopefully, you now have a much greater understanding of exactly what photo ageing is and how it can significantly affect your skin.
But just in case, here is a little recap to help you understand where you sit on the Glouca scale.
When we start out in life, we are all type 1, with smooth, unblemished, wrinkle-free skin.
But as we move into 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 that appears out of nowhere. Yes, welcome to type 2.
A few years later, and uh oh, that smile line is now apparent, and yet when you are no longer smiling, that line is still showing, and those faint brown spots have morphed. This can only mean one thing: it’s type 3.
Suddenly, wrinkles appear everywhere, your skin texture is irregular, and your skin seems sallow and dry.
All those years of sun-worshipping and not knowing about damaging UVA rays are starting to take their toll.
And now it’s official: you are now at type 4.