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Photoaging: What You Need to Know

Summer is the time of the year when we expose ourselves to the highest amounts of ultraviolet (UV) radiation — at cookouts, sunbathing at the pool, boating on the lake, and even just running errands day to day. Repeated exposure to UVA and UVB radiation from the sun, and also from artificial sources like tanning beds, can prematurely age the skin, which is also known as photoaging.

What are the signs of photoaging?

Premature aging of the skin can present in a variety of ways for different people, and the severity usually depends on the amount of lifetime unprotected exposure to sunlight. Photoaging generally shows up on the parts of the body that are visible outside of clothing that are most regularly exposed to sunlight like the face, neck, back of the hands, arms, and chest.

Signs of photoaging can include:

  • Uneven skin tone: Loss of skin tone or discoloration in areas that have been overexposed to the sun
  • Spider veins: Spider veins on the neck, cheeks, and nose
  • Pigmented areas of the skin: Overly-pigmented spots such as age or liver spots, freckles, or uneven skin color
  • Wrinkles and deep creases: Wrinkles around the eyes and mouth that can become deep creases over time
  • Forehead frown lines: Frown lines on the forehead that are visible even when you are not frowning

What are the risks of photoaging?

Repeated exposure to UVA and UVB rays can not only cause premature signs of skin aging, but can also significantly increase your risk of skin cancer. If you have a lighter complexion, a complexion with moles, had multiple blistering sunburns as a child or teenager, live in a sunny or higher-altitude climate, or have a personal or family history of skin cancer, you are much more susceptible to getting skin cancer from overexposure to the sun.

How is photoaging treated?

The best way to fight photoaging is to prevent it in the first place. We recommend applying sunscreen of SPF 15 or higher every day on areas of your body that could be exposed to the sun.

The Dermatology Center of Indiana offers a variety of esthetician treatments for sun damaged skin, including cosmetic fillers that help soften deep folds, reduce wrinkles, and restore facial volume. We also offer multiple laser treatments and chemical peels to help treat uneven skin tones like red and brown spots.

Learn more about our range of cosmetic services here.

Disclaimer: This blog provides general information and discussion about medical, cosmetic, mohs, and surgical dermatology. The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed dermatologist or other health care worker.