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Photoaging is defined as premature aging of the skin caused by regular exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV), either from the sun or from artificial UV sources. The damaging effects of UV rays can alter the normal structures of the skin. Photoaging is a cumulative process which happens over years. Some signs of photoaging are freckles, actinic keratoses, age spots, mottled skin with various pigmented spots and general loss of skin tone in sun exposed areas. Deep wrinkles and sagging skin can be other indicators of photoaging.

Ultraviolet radiation can harm your skin in two main ways:

  • UVB Radiation penetrates the outer layer of skin, or the epidermis. This can both damage the DNA in this later and cause other changes in skin cells, which may result in signs of photoaging. Over time, pre-cancers or skin cancer may develop.
  • UVA Radiation penetrates, not only the epidermis, but deeper into the skin to the dermis (second layer of skin). UVA can harm collagen and elastin, both of which keep the skin resilient, and blood vessels.

The best ways to prevent photoaging are to have a good sun protection regimen, and know your skin type. Click the link at the bottom of the page to get more tips on staying safe in the sun! Knowing your skin type is important, as fair-skinned people with blond or red hair and skin that usually burns in the sun are at the greatest risk. Darker skinned people show less signs of obvious photoaging overall, however, the skin can still become mottled and there may be some wrinkling. Below is the Fitzpatrick skin type classification, which is based on a person’s reaction to sun exposure. Types I and II are the most susceptible to photoaging.

  • Type I – Always burns, never tans
  • Type II – Usually burns, then tans
  • Type III – May burn, tans well
  • Type IV – Rarely burns, tans well
  • Type V – Very rarely burns, tans well, brown skin
  • Type VI – Very rarely burns, tans well, very dark skin

For more information, please click on the links below!


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