Photodamage: The Real Aging
When you think about skin aging, you may think it’s all about the clock. But what if we told you there’s something greater than time and genetics at play? Would you be surprised to learn that UV exposure is a bigger factor in skin aging than aging itself? Up to 90 percent of the visible skin changes commonly attributed to aging are actually caused by the sun. That’s good news because it means you have more control over how your skin ages than you may have thought.
Chronological Aging vs. Photoaging
Time and genetics are intrinsic (internal) factors in aging that you can’t control. These make up the chronological age of your skin. Photoaging is premature aging caused by exposure to the sun. The damage builds up over time and accelerates the aging process.
How does photodamage happen?
Skin has three layers: the epidermis (outermost layer), the dermis (middle layer), and the subcutis (the bottom layer). The dermis makes up the bulk of the skin and provides its structural strength. It’s the home of collagen and elastin, the structural components responsible for skin firmness, flexibility, and smooth, youthful texture. It’s also where fibroblasts hang out. These critical cells produce and organize the extracellular matrix, stimulate growth factors, regulate inflammation, and help with wound healing.
UV rays, especially longer UVA rays that reach deep into the dermis, damage collagen fibers, elastin, and fibroblasts. The damage manifests in multiple ways. Collagen and elastin fibers degrade and become disorganized. Fibroblasts lose their ability to function efficiently. Melanin, the skin’s protective response, is triggered. All this damage is revealed in wrinkles, laxity, leathery texture, and dark spots.
Photoaging affects all skin types and tones, but the degree of photodamage is an equation of UV exposure multiplied by time. The effects are cumulative and can be worse depending on your environment (latitude and climate matter).
Dark skin tones are not immune. Melanin provides a degree of protection from collagen degradation, but the larger concentration of melanocytes in the skin means dark tones are more prone to hyperpigmentation.
How can you protect your skin from photodamage?
The good news is you can significantly reduce photodamage by simply limiting UV exposure and wearing sunscreen. Use sunscreen daily, even in winter, to protect your cells from age-accelerating damage.
We also recommend our Pure C + E serum. The combination of these two antioxidant superheroes has been shown to magnify photoprotective effects fourfold. Apply it every morning under your sunscreen to augment protection, rebuild collagen, and brighten tone.
Correct Existing Photodamage
Because we’re exposed daily to UV throughout our lives, photodamage is pretty much impossible to avoid, and it begins long before you start to see its effects.
Antioxidant ingredients will combat oxidative stress caused by UV.
Vitamin A and acids accelerate cell turnover to improve texture and disperse surface pigment.
Ingredients like peptides and vitamin A will regenerate collagen and elastin to rebuild structure for firmer, smoother skin.
While our mandelic acid and vitamin A therapies are excellent for improving tone and texture, you’ll soon have a powerful new option developed specifically to combat photodamage. Our new FF3 Triple Repair Complex, an intensive cellular recovery serum for deep repair and renewal of photoaged skin, arrives November 15.