All organs in the body, including the skin, undergo a process of aging over time that lends to chronological aging. Human skin also experiences photoaging due to exposure to environmental elements, such as UV irradiation from sunlight. Both types of aging are cumulative, and the key difference is how quickly the damage occurs. Where chronological aging is time-based, photoaging depends on the degree of exposure to the environment, both in time and intensity, as well as the characteristics of the skin, such as lighter pigmentation in fair-skinned patients. Chronological aging generally describes a condition in which the crucial proteins in the skin are not replenished by the body, whereas photoaging involves damage to the structural integrity of the skin. Both types of aging may cause wrinkles, lines and other cosmetic concerns, yet photoaging may also lead to more serious conditions, such as skin cancer.
Photoaging and Skin Cancer
Exposure to UVA and UVB light trigger structural changes within the skin. When UVA rays reach the dermis, it damages the collagen fibers. This damage stimulates the development of abnormal elastin, leading to a release of enzymes that break down collagen fibers further. This process causes irregularities in the skin, such as lines, wrinkles and a leathery appearance of the skin Continued exposure to sunlight further disrupts the development of healthy skin cells, leading to the growth of cancerous and non-cancerous lesions. Treatment for skin cancer may involve removing the abnormal cells and reconstructing the skin aesthetically with scar revision techniques.
Treatment for Photoaging
Surgical interventions, such as facelifts, are appropriate for chronological aging of the skin, but when the surface of the skin is compromised by photoaging, additional interventions are required. Laser skin resurfacing uses high-intensity light beams to remove damaged skin cells and bring younger, healthier cells to the surface. These new cells do not suffer from that malformations caused by exposure to UVA and UVB irradiation. The most effective laser skin resurfacing technologies are second-generation fractionated CO2 or Erbium lasers that allow precise removal of damaged cells while preserving surrounding tissues.
Outcomes of Laser Skin Resurfacing
Laser skin resurfacing with fractionated ablative laser technologies is effective for deeper wrinkles and sun damage. Compared to non-ablative laser options, patient outcomes are superior with only seven to 10 days of recovery with proper aftercare.
Find Treatments for Photoaging and Chronological Aging of the Skin at Natural Face Clinics
Double board-certified facial plastic surgeon, Dr. Sang W. Kim, works with men and women to correct signs of chronological aging and photoaging of the skin. To learn more about our treatments, contact us to schedule a consultation.