Photoaging is the premature aging of the skin caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UVR). All skin eventually ages, but exposure to ultraviolet radiation hastens the process and can bring about unique signs of photoaging.
Signs of photoaging include solar elastosis, cutis rhomboidalis nuchae, actinic (solar) lentigines, ephelides (freckles), poikiloderma of Civatte, Favre-Racouchot syndrome, and colloid millium.
How is photoaging treated?
The paradigm for the treatment of photoaging is divided into prevention, treatment of microdamage, and repair.
Prevention. Photoprotection is key with sunscreens that provide UVA and UVB protection, as well as sun avoidance and the use of protective clothing. It is never too late to start protecting your skin.
Treatment of microdamage. Retinoic acids are the mainstay of microdamage repair. Topical antioxidants are also promoted for this purpose including: vitamin C, coenzyme Q, alpha lipoic acid, gluconolactone, N-furfuryladenine, green tea polyphenols, and others. Oral antioxidants such as vitamin E and coenzyme Q are also advocated.
Repair. Repair of lentigines, solar elastosis, telangiectasias, xerosis and other signs of photodamage can sometimes be at least partially achieved.
Xerosis. Occlusives, emollients, humectants, hydrophilic matrices and sunscreens help to retain and add moisture.
Keratolytics. Salicylic acid, beta hydroxy acids, lactic acid, glycolic acid and retinoids act as keratolytic agents and can help repair superficial damage.
Microdermabrasion. This process removes the most superficial layers of the skin and can help repair superficial damage.
Lasers. The pulsed dye laser is uniquely effective for treating telangiectasia (fine blood vessels) and redness. Other lasers are useful for treating surface signs of aging, pigment abnormalities, and fine wrinkles.
Botox. Botox can help prevent and repair dynamic wrinkles (those in areas of motion, such as the forehead and between the eyebrows)
Dermal Fillers. Dermal fillers can help restore lost volume, soften lines, and restore the rounded contours of youth.