Ageing Skin & Rejuvenation
It’s always important to get your skin checked for any irregularities
As we get older our skin, like the rest of our body, goes through a series of changes.
There is variety of factors that contribute to the level and speed our skin will age.
- skin type - whether we have fair or dark skin
- sun exposure - particularly where we have lived most of our life and how much UV damage we have experienced
- outdoor work or hobbies
- genetic background
- lifestyle, particularly smoking
- nutrition and general health
The biggest contributor to skin ageing is sun exposure. The ultraviolet radiation of the sun interacts with our skin (particularly the dermis, the underneath layer of the skin) and causes damage. This is known as photoageing.
Photoageing is often evident on our hands, the part of our body most often exposed to sunlight without protection.
Looking at the skin on the inside of the upper arm shows us what our skin would be like if we were not exposed to the sun
Our skin can be subdivided into
- the epidermis - upper layer
- the dermis - underneath the epidermis
During photoageing our skin layers are affected differently by different wavelengths of UV light.
Skin & Photoageing
The upper layer (epidermis)
During photoageing the epidermis thins, pales and becomes more translucent due to short wavelength UV radiation (UVB). Changes in the epidermis lead to the development of both pre-cancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
The underneath layer (dermis)
The dermis is particularly susceptible to damage from longer wavelength UV radiation (UVA) which damages the support structures of the skin, particularly collagen and elastin. In addition blood vessels are damaged causing easy bruising.
Common signs of skin ageing include:
- lines and wrinkles
- loose skin
- changes in colour or texture
- thinning of the skin
- changes in pigmentation (freckles, pigmented areas)
- precancerous skin lesions; and
- skin cancers
Prevention is better than cure when it comes to the ageing of our skin. Some simple steps to slow the rate our skin ages are:
- Wearing a hat and appropriate clothing for skin protection (particularly during the middle of the day)
- use of daily sunscreen for the face
- don't smoke
- get plenty of exercise
- apply moisturisers, particularly on dry and flaky skin at night
- eat a healthy diet
- drink plenty of water
Sunscreen & UV Index
When should sunscreen be worn?
- People are advised to protect their skin when the UV index is 3 or more.
- In Melbourne, the UV index usually hits 3, on or about September 1, between 12 and 1pm.
- The duration that the UV index is 3 or more is called the "UV Alert". This is the time that you need to protect your skin.
- Many people do not realise that the UV intensity is related to the date, not the temperature
- Theoretically, the UV Index is highest when the sun is closest to us, that is at the time of the summer solstice, on December 21
- In southern Australia, many people get sunburnt in springtime, when the weather is cool, but UV levels are moderately high
- It is important to understand the UV alert, and an iphone app is available free from Sunsmart
Read more about how sunscreen works.