Does the Fountain of Youth Provide Unlimited Sips? Photoaging and Your Skin

What goes up and doesn’t come back down? Your age!

If there’s one thing that women and men (for the most part) want to preserve; it is their youth. Everyone wants to feel young, look young, and be young. But unfortunately for us, there is no time machine to take us back to the days of soft, smooth skin, free of wrinkles and signs of old age. While it is inevitable that your skin will grow older with each passing day, you should be cautious of photoaging – which is one of the most accelerated forms of aging.

Photoaging refers to premature skin damage caused by overexposure to ultraviolet rays, primarily sunlight. Prolonged sun exposure can cause fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes, yellow age spots on the face, around the lips, and arms, which can even lead to skin cancer. Individuals with fair skin that spend a great deal of time outdoors during their youth are at risk of photoaging. However, if you don’t fall into this category you should still consider taking precautions because sun rays are everywhere (both on cloudy and sunny days), which means your skin has to work hard to repair the solar damage caused by such UV rays. It’s astonishing how 80% of facial aging is related to UV exposure, making it an issue we shouldn’t take lightly… pun intended!

So, what can you do to prevent photoaging? While we can’t go back in time, there are ways to preserve the youth of your skin.

First and foremost, wear sunscreen! UV radiation is omnipresent and when it penetrates the dermis (the middle layer of your skin), it destroys collagen and elastin, two key elements that give skin its smooth and youthful appearance. Sunscreen is an excellent remedy to prevent such cell and DNA damage to your skin because it protects you against UV rays. It is best to apply a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every day to areas that are exposed to direct sunlight such as your face, neck, and chest.

You can also take measures to avoid sun exposure between 10am and 2pm, when the sun is the strongest. Moreover, protecting your face by wearing a sun cap, staying under the shade, and wearing protective clothing can increase the level of protection that your skin needs from the sun, and thus prevent photoaging.

If your skin has already been damaged from photoaging, there are indeed methods to repair it. Consider eating and/or drinking products that contain vitamin C and E, and other antioxidants like green tea.  These choices help slow down the damage caused to collagen and its fibers on the skin, and can stabilize the skin to help brighten dark spots. Moreover, using retinol on a nightly basis can help boost cell turnover and create a youthful appearance to your skin.

So, if you happen to look at your photos and question how you seem to appear much older than you are, it could be a sign of photoaging. Take the precautions to avoid direct and prolonged sunlight exposure, and you will begin to feel confident that age really is just a number.

 

Written by: Adi Tzadok

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