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Photoageing… What damage is the sun doing?


Photoageing is the premature ageing of skin… often induced by cumulative ultraviolet radiation (mostly sun exposure). Meaning that the skin ages faster and more aggressively than it should, because it is constantly being exposed to damaging elements. The effects of photoageing start from the day we are born and continue to accumulate throughout our lives.

“I believe that photoageing should be classified as a chronic skin disease caused by light. My reason is that if people recognise it as a disease the they will realise that we need a scientific ‘medicine’ to treat this disease that affects virtually the whole world.”

Vitamin A Skin Science, Dr Des Fernandes & Dr Ernst Eiselen.

The effects of photoageing have dramatically increased over the last few decades, due to lifestyle changes and the need to flaunt tanned skin. The very first signs of photoageing start to appear in the teens, is clinically suspected in the twenties and is clearly evident in the thirties.


What visible effects does photoageing have on the skin?


IRREGULAR PIGMENTATION – comes from stimulated melanin production as the results of free radical action and the release by keratinocytes of some active chemicals.

WRINKLES – is caused by the loss of Collagen and elastin in the dermis and is aggravated by dehydration of the skin.

LAXITY – occurs when the skin does not have sufficient elastic recoil to counteract the effects of gravity.

ELASTOSIS – known also as ‘chicken skin’ or ‘goose flesh’ or ‘turkey neck’ on the neck and chest area, due to clumps of elastin materials.

SALLOW SKIN – appears when blood vessels are damaged and less numerous; skin takes on a pale yellow appearance caused by the colour of the Collagen below the skin.

ROUGHNESS – is evident when the skin becomes dry because of damage to the waterproofing barrier and the thickening of the horny layer of the epidermis.

SOLAR (ACTINIC) KERATOSES – or ‘sun spots’, may eventually occur due to damage of the DNA of irradiated cells, which then grow as a clone of abnormal cells that may ultimately show up as keratoses or skin cancers.

SOLAR COMEDONES – are large ‘blackheads’ in the oily areas of the face, that is, on the forehead and nose, resulting from chronic severe sun damage.

BASAL CELL PAPPILOMAS – (Seborrhoeic keratoses) are usually brown to pink marks on the skin with a crusty top.

SKIN CANCER – develops in people with chronic sun damage.





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What causes the changes within the skin?

The amount of time spent in the sun, directly relates to the extent and severity of our photoageing, not our age. We develop visible signs of ageing such as wrinkles and pigmentation because of the changes that occur within the skin.

“The basic change in skin is caused by light entering the skin and then interacting with certain chemicals. This interaction can be seen either on the molecular or atomic level.”
Vitamin A Skin Science, Dr Des Fernandes & Dr Ernst Eiselen.

Ultraviolet radiation causes the depletion of vitamin A which allows for chemical changes within the skin to release powerful enzymes that degrade and destroy collagen and elastin.


How to limit the effects of photoageing?

Unfortunately photoageing is inevitable, because it is impossible to completely avoid ultraviolet radiation. Though it is not only sunlight that causes damage to our cells but also green, blue and violet light. Sunscreen, might help to limit sun damage but it does not treat the cause of photoageing. For our skin to be healthy and able to defend its self against the chemical changes that occur due to photoageing, our skin needs to maintain optimal levels of vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a key role in preventing the lose of collagen and elastin.

“It seems that everywhere one looks vitamin A is playing an important role in maintaining healthy skin.”
Vitamin A Skin Science, Dr Des Fernandes & Dr Ernst Eiselen.

Environ Skin Care are the pioneers and innovators in the use of vitamin A moisturisers. With years of scientific research and clinical trials, Environ is leading the world in effective skin regeneration.


If you would like to find out how vitamin A can help your skin, please get in contact with us…



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