What is photoaging?

Photoaging is the premature aging of the skin caused by prolonged exposure to solar radiation.

Approximately 80% of facial skin aging is attributed to UV exposure.

Causes of photoaging

We know that aging is natural. So far we cannot prevent the skin from aging, due to the decrease in the organic production of collagen, elastin and other elements such as hyaluronic acid.

When this occurs, the skin loses firmness, furrows form and wrinkles and sagging appear. This aging is called intrinsic aging.

In addition, there are external agents that can accelerate this process. Pollution, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle and sun exposure are some of these agents. This aging is known as extrinsic aging, which is synonymous with premature aging, and its effects are much more rapid than those of intrinsic aging.

According to some studies, 90% of the symptoms of premature skin aging are caused by exposure to solar radiation.

Effects of photoaging

What exposure to ultraviolet radiation actually does to our skin is that it loses its natural capabilities.

Radiation directly damages cellular DNA by activating oxidative stress and forming free radicals.

Oxidative stress causes cells to stop producing the elements that help them maintain tension, they weaken, lose their ability to retain water, blemishes appear and the appearance of the skin changes.

The parts of the body most affected by photoaging are those that are normally most exposed to the sun, such as the neck, face, décolleté, arms and hands.

The effects of photoaging are represented in the form of wrinkles, pigmented lesions and depigmented lesions. Loss of tone and elasticity is also visible, along with increased skin fragility, areas of discoloration due to weakened blood vessels and certain benign lesions.

Finally, among the harmful consequences of chronic sun exposure are various forms of skin cancer.

How to prevent photoaging

The main tool to prevent photoaging is skin care by applying sunscreen every day of the year, not only in summer. Obviously, sun exposure should also be limited.

In addition, use retinoids to inhibit collagenase synthesis and promote collagen production and use antioxidants, in combination, to reduce and neutralize free radicals.

In other words, in addition to protecting, we must try to moisturize the skin to prevent dryness. It is therefore important to use moisturizing products, or products containing active ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, which enhances the skin’s ability to retain water.

On the other hand, it is important to have an additive that helps to combat oxidative stress. In this way, skin structures are protected and free radicals are combated. To do this, we will look for products with antioxidants.

In recent years, research has brought us closer to a fairly deep understanding of the cellular and molecular mechanisms that cause chronological aging and photoaging.

And that information reveals that chronological (intrinsic) aging and photoaging (extrinsic) share fundamental molecular pathways, opening up new options for treatments against photoaging.

Commitment to quality

This text on photoaging has been written by professional editors and reviewed by Sisneo’s medical-aesthetic team. In addition, we have relied on experts in medicine, engineering and aesthetics as a source of information, as well as specific studies to maintain the quality of what we publish.

At Sisneo Bioscience we are committed to publish truthful and contrasted information. And to update or correct it as soon as new knowledge becomes available.

Among others, we have used the following references:

  • Chen X, Yang C, Jiang G. «Research progress on skin photoaging and oxidative stress» en Postepy Dermatol Alergol. 2021 Dec;38(6):931-936. doi: 10.5114/ada.2021.112275. Epub 2022 Jan 7.
  • Katherine Hrynewycz, Ally-Khan Somani y Melanie Kingsley. «Chemical peels» en Comprehensive Dermatologic Drug Therapy (Fourth Edition) 2021, Pages 592-596.