Are You Prey To Photoageing?


The sun can create havoc with your skin—that’s not an unknown fact. But what can you do to prevent this? GITA HARI finds out.

Everyone loves growing older and wiser, but with no visible signs of age on the face. How would you react if you were told that your face is in dire need of a restoration?

Drinking plenty of water and eight hours of sleep sure can do wonders for your skin but experts say most skin damage is caused by sunlight. Photoageing (also known as dermatoheliosis) is a term used for the characteristic changes to skin induced by prolonged exposure to sun’s UVA and UVB rays.

Throwing light on photoageing, Dr. Bharti Magoo, Aesthetician and Owner at Golden Touch Clinic says, “Characteristics of photoaged skin include fine and grainy wrinkles, coarseness, laxity, mottled pigmentation, actinic lentigines and keratosis, washed-out look and spider veins.” Adding further, she says, “This process is characterised by clinical, histological and natural variations which differ from changes in chronologically aged but sun-protected skin.”

The most damaging effect of the UV rays occurs between 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dr. Mohan Thomas, Senior Cosmetic Surgeon, Cosmetic Surgery Institute affirms, “People who live on the mountains and closer to the tropics are exposed to the highest quantity of UV rays. UV rays increase by 4% with every 300 metres increase in altitude. Also, snow reflects as much as 60% of the UV rays that fall on it and sand reflects about 25% of UV light.”

Vis-à-vis the adverse effects of sun’s rays on other vital parts, Dr. Thomas warns, “Chronic exposure to UVR is a risk factor for several eye-related disorders, including cortical cataracts and pterygium (wing-like membranes). Acute exposure can also cause photokeratitis, conjunctivitis and retinal burns.” It is advisable to always wear sunglasses to avoid harm to the eyes.


A sunny smile can be marred by continuous exposure to UV rays leading the delicate skin of lips to lose their colour and become chapped and leathery. Dr. Soma Sarkar, Dermatologist & Medical Director, Skin Inn, reveals, “Sunrays and other visible rays can cause a lot of dryness and congestion in the eyes and one can have tired eyes. Lips get pigmented, dry and chapped with repeated sun exposure. The hair also loses a lot of moisture, looks dry and dull, becomes brittle and can lead to hairfall.”

According to Dr. Magoo, “Wrinkles form due to degradation of collagen and gelatin fibres caused by exposure to sun’s harsh UV rays besides other endogenous and exogenous factors. The aim of skin anti-ageing treatments such as dermabrasion or chemical peels is to attain a vital, even, flawless, radiant and buoyant skin,”

Though laser technology’s contribution towards removal of wrinkles and blemishes cannot be underestimated. “Total facial resurfacing is inarguably the most overhyped treatment as lasers cannot erase deeply-etched wrinkles,” advises Dr. Magoo, according to whom glycolic acid and yellow peels are amongst the most effective treatments for photoageing.

Preventive Measures:
* Using sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 including lip protection is essential on all exposed skin areas.

* Reapply sunscreen after every four hours to keep its effect intact and effective.

* Choose cosmetics, hand cream and body lotion with SPF 30 broad spectrum sunscreen.

* Wear hats and use hair sunscreen.

* Don’t forget those sunglasses with UV protection.

In the age of selfies, appearances matter more than ever. Photoageing is reversible and with treatments and care, a fetching presence and a radiant face can together create a better impression and make you look more appealing

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