“Things as certain as Death and Taxes, can be more firmly believed.”- Daniel Defoe The Political History of the Devil 1726. Death and taxes may be inevitable, but there’s another issue that cannot be avoided: skin aging! Besides aging due to natural causes, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation also accelerates skin aging. However, do you know that signs of aging caused by UV radiation are different from those of normal aging?

Photoaging is the premature aging of the skin due to long-term exposure to UV radiation. It differs from normal aging because UV radiation damages the skin’s tissues and causes harm.

The face, neck, hands, and even lips are the most commonly affected areas of photoaging. Those with lighter skin tones are more prone to this problem as their skin lacks melanin protection and is easily damaged by UV radiation, leading to premature aging.

Doctors can use a UV camera to find evidence of photoaging. In a UV photograph, we can see the accumulation of superficial pigments, and the more pigments there are, the more severe the photoaging. You can also compare the exposed areas with non-exposed areas of your body, such as the buttocks, to see the difference in skin color and texture.

Normal aging causes thinning skin, fine lines, dryness, and loss of elasticity. Aging caused by UV radiation can lead to pigment changes, yellowing of the skin, the appearance of spots, thickening of the stratum corneum, visible microvessels, purple discoloration (purpura), deep wrinkles, and the appearance of actinic keratosis. The Glogau classification system suggested by Dr. Richard G. Glogau is used to objectively analyze the severity of photoaging. Doctors use it as a reference to diagnose the extent of a patient’s aging and decide on the appropriate treatment.

In terms of facial skin, up to 90% of aging can be caused by UV radiation. After understanding the damage that UV radiation can cause to the skin, remember to wear sunscreen every day!