Sun Damage on Face: Sunspots, Solar Elastosis and Aging
Here’s a stunning fact: 90% of skin aging occurs because of sun damage to your face — it’s called solar elastosis. In other words, there is no reason to get wrinkles and fine lines prematurely.
But how does the sun damage our skin? And what can be done to reverse or prevent it? Read on:
In this article you’ll learn:
- What solar elastosis is
- What’s a sun spot?
- The primary cause of aging
- Whether you can get rid of sun damage on your face
How Geologie can help prevent wrinkles
What is Solar Elastosis?
Dr. Steve, Geologie founding dermatologist, said: Solar elastosis is a type of skin damage to the connective tissue that leads to deep wrinkles. It’s caused by UV rays that affect the DNA in your skin cells. When the DNA is affected, the cells don't produce collagen correctly. That's what causes wrinkles and that sunken look you see in middle aged and older people. Of course, DNA damage also increases your risk of skin cancer.
What’s a sun spot?
A sun spot is also known as an age spot or liver spot. They’re solar lentigines (lentigo for only one) — flat marks that appear in different shades of brown, tan, or black. They’re harmless, but it is important to see your doctor to confirm that they are not cancerous moles.
How does the sun cause aging?
UV rays: UV from the sun cause most aging. The damage caused by ultraviolet radiation is both immediate and long lasting. While UVB rays are the main culprit behind sunburn (short term), the long-term threat comes from UVA rays, which can actually alter your skin’s DNA and break down connective tissue — the collagen and elastin fibers — deep in your dermis.
The UVA rays trigger an increase in the production of an enzyme that rebuilds damaged collagen. But because the skin’s DNA has been affected, the enzyme malfunctions and incorrectly rebuilds the skin. The result is solar elastosis (wrinkles and saggy skin), an increase in the risk of skin cancer, and people mistaking you for a leather recliner that’s escaped from a furniture consignment store.
Said Dr. Steve: “The vast majority, about 90% of aging, is from your skin not being protected from the sun. There’s really no reason for sun-aging. If you protect yourself, you can prevent more than 90% of UV damage to your skin. You’ll be doing a lot for yourself.”
Higher altitudes: The higher you are, the more damaging the UV rays can be. That’s because our first line of defense against UV radiation is the atmosphere — the ozone layer and water vapor absorb some of the UV rays. But at higher altitudes the air is thinner, more porous, which allows excess UV radiation to pass through. Ask any serious mountain climber and they’ll tell you that with every gain of 3,280 feet, the level of UV radiation increases by approximately 12%.
Cloudy days: People also get a false sense of UV-safe security on cloudy days. Thick clouds can block most UV radiation, but thin clouds will allow UV rays to slip through. Beware fluffy, fair-weather clouds — they’re deceiving because they reflect UV rays and can increase the amount of radiation reaching your skin.
Can you get rid of sunspots on your face?
Dr. Steve: “There's a lot written on the Internet about skin care products that are designed to reverse sun damage — vitamins C and E, green tea and other antioxidants that claim to help brighten sun spots.”
“There's a very low chance of actually reversing sun damage that's already occurred. Retinol is probably the closest thing where you can say it'll correct damage that has already happened, and that's through alteration of DNA expression that leads to more collagen production. There are skin lightening creams with kojic acid that can help, and then there are lasers that are prescription only that also help. But sun damage is basically permanent. Antioxidants suck up free radicals that cause damage — but only at that point in time, not in reverse.”
How Geologie can help prevent wrinkles
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