Aging Skin and Sun Damage
Aging skin is a hot topic of the 21st century and it is likely to only become more heated in the future, because everyone wants to look and feel younger. Although most everyone experiences an aging countenance and extra pounds sooner or later, no one actually likes the wrinkles, the laxity, the sagging, and the bagging caused by poor lifestyle choices, the passage of time, and the wear and tear of our environment. Looking one’s age is no longer a positive. Most everyone ideally wants to look younger than his or her stated age. But hope is not all lost, because the current aesthetic market offers numerous antiaging treatments and noninvasive cosmetic procedures that effectively rejuvenate and restore youthfulness health to the skin.
But not all that we call aging skin is only about wrinkles. Age spots, fragile skin, rough texture, and skin cancer can also result. Numerous factors come into play, such as sun damage, smoking, alcohol, chronic disease, mental stress, physical stress, and genetics, just to name a few. However, from a dermatologist’s point of view, the first and foremost factor within one’s control is sun exposure. Sun damage not only ages the skin rapidly, causing the skin to get wrinkly, rough, leathery, mottled, and sallow in color, but it also is one of the main causes of skin cancer.
Long term and repeated exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet light, can cause a variety of cosmetic and medical problems related to the skin, commonly referred to as sun damage or actinic damage. Sun damage can affect any area of the skin as a result of excessive, persistent, or chronic exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun. Sun damage most commonly occurs on the exposed areas of the body, namely the face, hands and arms, and may lead to sunspots, age spots, rough skin, sallowness, and wrinkles. Years of sun exposure can also lead to rapid, premature aging and skin cancer. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, roughly 90 percent of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. In recent years, tanning booths have had a huge impact on the rise in skin cancers in younger adults as well.
The best treatment against sun damage is preventing it from occurring in the first place. It is important to wear sunscreen on a daily basis and avoid excessive exposure to the sun, especially during mid-day hours when the sun is at its strongest. Additional ways to prevent sun damage include: always wearing sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30-45, wearing a hat in the sun, wearing long sleeves and long pants, and of course, avoiding tanning beds.
Once sun damage has occurred, however, there are options available not only to cosmetically improve the damage that has already been incurred, but also to actually reverse some of the effects of the sun damage as well. A few of the many in-office cosmetic treatments include injectable dermal fillers to fill out lines and wrinkles, laser treatment to reduce the appearance of uneven pigmentation, chemical peels to improve texture and tone, and microdermabrasion to soften and refine the skin, to name a few. Skincare is also one of the most important therapeutic options because it builds upon establishing good habits and results in helping to optimize skin health and revitalization.
At Honet Dermatology and Cosmetic, we are privileged to treat patients of all ages, all skin types, female or male. Dr. Linda Honet recommends yearly skin exams at a minimum, wearing a sunscreen of an SPF of 45 or above year-round, and awareness of one’s own skin and skin health. Remember that early detection is the key to curing any skin cancer, and prevention is the best way to protect it for the future. Be kind to your skin and start to protect and nurture it today. It is never too late to start taking care of your skin.