As we age, our skin undergoes various changes. While some of these changes are natural, others are a direct consequence of environmental factors – primarily, sun exposure. Sun damage, which is known as photoageing in scientific terms, can cause the skin to lose its youthful appearance and develop signs of premature ageing.
With summer rapidly bearing down on us and heralding the start of another beach season, now feels like the ideal time to speak about the intricacies of sun damage. This guide will explain the difference between premature and natural ageing, while highlighting preventive measures and the role of dermal therapy in reversing its effects.
Unveiling Sun Damage: An Overview
Sun damage or photoageing refers to the premature ageing of the skin due to prolonged exposure to the sun's ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The manifestations of photoageing include spider veins, loss of skin elasticity, fine lines and wrinkles, rough scaly spots, and pigment changes, among others.
Sun damage is a broad term encompassing various skin conditions caused by prolonged exposure to the sun's harmful UV radiation. It's important to note that sun damage is not limited to sunburn but includes other conditions such as actinic keratosis, melasma, and even skin cancer.
While sun damage poses significant challenges to maintaining youthful beauty, advancements in dermal therapy offer promising solutions. Dermal therapy encompasses a range of treatments designed to improve the health and appearance of the skin. It can play a crucial role in reversing the signs of ageing induced by sun damage.
Photoageing Vs. Intrinsic Ageing: The Difference
Recognising the difference between photoageing and intrinsic ageing is essential to understanding sun damage and its treatment.
- Photoageing: is the premature ageing of the skin caused by repeated exposure to UV radiation, primarily from the sun but also from artificial UV sources like tanning beds. It typically manifests as wrinkled, rough, blotchy skin, with potential for precancerous skin changes.
- Intrinsic Ageing: on the other hand, is the natural ageing process that takes place over the years regardless of external influences. It's characterised by thinning of the skin, fine wrinkles, dryness, and sagging.
Preventing Sun Damage: Proactive Measures
Preventing sun damage is the first step towards maintaining the skin's health and beauty and hopefully you are all familiar with the most common preventive measures, such as:
- Sunscreen: Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, even on cloudy days. Reapply every two hours and immediately after swimming or excessive sweating.
- Protective Clothing: Wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and a wide-brimmed hat when outdoors. Opt for sunglasses with 100% UV protection to shield the eyes.
- Avoid Peak Sun Hours: Try to stay indoors between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when the sun's rays are the most intense.
Dermal Therapy: A Key to Reversing Sun Damage
Dermal therapy encompasses a range of procedures designed to reduce the visible signs of sun damage. These treatments target various aspects of skin damage, from hyperpigmentation and wrinkles to loss of skin elasticity and texture.
- Microdermabrasion: is a minimally invasive procedure that exfoliates the top layer of the skin, promoting the growth of new, more elastic skin. It's effective for treating hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and other signs of sun damage.
- Chemical Peels: involve the application of a chemical solution to remove the damaged outer layers of the skin. They are effective for treating age spots, fine lines, and freckles caused by sun exposure.
- Laser Resurfacing: uses concentrated beams of light to reduce wrinkles, blemishes, and acne scars. It's particularly effective for treating sun-damaged skin and can significantly improve skin texture and tone.
Sun damage can have a significant impact on the skin's health and appearance. However, with a proactive approach to prevention and the help of dermal therapy, it's possible to protect your skin and reverse signs of sun damage.
If you are excited to help others overcome their sun damage with the most advanced dermal treatments, studying a Bachelor of Applied Health Science with ACHW will provide you with all the necessary tools and knowledge. Stand out from your peers with a leading education and help people achieve their skin goals.