Photoaging does not happen overnight, as we are all aware that such changes require prolonged exposure to the sun. It takes years of being in the sun, unprotected, for the skin to be damaged. Combined with the natural aging process, the damage caused by sun exposure makes us look older than we are.
In the paragraphs that follow, we will talk about the structural changes photoaged skin incurs, as well as about the best ways to reverse the effects of photoaging.
Photoaging, a Gradual Process
The majority of the studies performed on middle-aged individuals have linked photoaging with DNA damage at the level of skin cells. Today, it is known that photoaging appears as the collagen and elastin fibers of the skin break down.
Practically, the skin loses its structural matrix, becoming saggy. Combined with the loss of hydration, this makes up a very good ground for the appearance of premature fine lines and wrinkles. The skin will thus have a saggy and thinning aspect, adding years to the existing age.
Both UVB and UVA rays play a part in the photoaging process, but it seems that the balance tilts “in favor” of the latter. While exposure to UVB rays leads to sunburns, it seems that UVA rays are responsible for the presence of free radicals at the level of the skin. UVA rays are capable of penetrating the skin as far as the dermis, causing structural damage and interfering with collagen synthesis.
Instead of a healthy-looking skin, photoaging leads to dryness, uneven pigmentation, and premature wrinkles.
Winding Back the Clock Is Possible
If you are interested in reversing the effects of photoaging, there are some treatment solutions you can resort to. The success of these solutions depends on how much damage the skin has incurred.
Moreover, it is worth mentioning that you will have to avoid further exposure to the sun, as a photoaged skin is even more sensitive to the harmful action of UV rays.
This is one of the most popular solutions recommended in mild cases of photoaging, especially if there are also acne-related lesions present at the level of the skin. If you are looking to change the appearance of your skin, this is the first procedure to resort to. And, as you will have the opportunity to read below, it can be successfully used in conjunction with chemical peels. Several sessions might be required to obtain the desired results, plus the skin will require intense hydration during the recovery period.
#2: Chemical Peel
Depending on how severe the consequences of photoaging are, you can resort to three different types of chemical peels, meaning superficial, medium, and deep.
The first refers to using a specialized substance, to remove the outer layer of the skin. The new layer that will grow will be healthy, with less visible signs of photoaging.
As for the medium chemical peel, this is indicated for those who present epidermal lesions, requiring a longer recovery.
And the deep chemical peel, in a similar manner to laser resurfacing, is indicated only in severe cases, as it causes deep wounds and has a long recovery period.
#3: Laser Resurfacing
The laser resurfacing procedure is recommended for those who present structural damage at the level of the epidermis and dermis (UVA exposure). One of the most often prescribed solutions is CO2 laser resurfacing, especially when the signs of photoaging are visible in the area around the eyes or the mouth.
After such procedures, it is indicated that patients stay away from the sun while the skin heals (this might be necessary for a couple of months).
Even though sunscreen is often presented as a method of prevention against photoaging, it can also be used to reverse the existent damage and prevent further structural changes.
To prevent the further damage of UVA rays, it is recommended that one chooses a sunscreen that contains either zinc or titanium oxide; these are known for their enhanced stability, providing the skin with the necessary amount of protection.
#5: Niacinamide (vitamin B3)
The Products that contain niacinamide can contribute to reversing the effects of photoaging, guaranteeing a youthful appearance of the skin. They make fine lines and wrinkles less visible, eliminating areas of redness and hyperpigmentation.
It was even discovered that they can boost the production of collagen at the level of the skin, in a similar manner to the products that contain vitamin A as an active ingredient.
These are just some of the ways you can try to reverse the damage done by sun exposure. The most important thing is that you protect yourself against further sun damage, to keep the risk of skin cancer down to a minimum.
Never go out without wearing sunblock and make sure to keep yourself hydrated, as dehydration will only make you look older than you are.
Vitamin A: Aside from vitamin B3, vitamin A will reduce the signs of photoaging with the right formula and when used correctly. If it is used in the wrong formula, this may lead to sagging and thinning of the skin. This will improve the physical appearance of aged and sun damaged skin although Vitamin A products that are meant to be used during the daytime will increase the risk of photoaging.
Vitamin C: Aside from sunscreen, Vitamin C in a topical serum is proven effective against photoaging due to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and photoprotective properties.
Many studies show that Vitamin can protect against damage from UVA and UVB rays, increase collagen production, improve inflammatory skin conditions, and correct problems of skin pigmentation. With the proper pH and concentration, Vitamin C serums will promote collagen synthesis.
Before taking vitamin supplements, you should talk to your doctor.
As antioxidants such as vitamin C and E among many others cannot be naturally produced by the human before, therefore, must be consumed through diet and supplements. Many antioxidant and peptide ingredients will help reduce the effects and signs of photoaging while boosting collagen, especially when paired with vitamin A, B3, C, and zinc sunscreen. With proper skin care and treatment, photoaging can be really reversed.