What is Photoaging, and How Can IPL Improve It?


Although your skin is a very tough and resilient protective covering for your body, it isn’t immune to the effects of natural aging and damage from extensive sun exposure. The risk of sun damage is significant during the summer months when UV rays are stronger, but you still need to use sun protection throughout the rest of the year. Either way, many people find themselves with splotchy, weathered skin after significant time spent outdoors—especially if they haven’t adequately applied sunscreen. The dermatologists at Skin Care Center of Southern Illinois recommend IPL for Mt.Vernon-based patients to rejuvenate their skin by greatly reducing irregular pigmentation and brown spots, visible capillaries, and wrinkles caused by sun damage, along with other tone and texture concerns.

Chronological aging isn’t the only reason for wrinkled skin. Another type of premature aging called photoaging occurs due to routine exposure to light from the sun or other sources, such as blue light from phone screens and laptops during your lifetime. Although you can’t prevent your skin from changing as you become older, sun damage significantly speeds up the aging process. While the body requires sunlight to produce vitamin D, sunlight exposure can be detrimental to your health.

Each time you get a sunburn, the damage harms blood vessels and cells. The radiation that the sun gives off can alter the DNA of skin cells and weaken collagen fibers in unprotected skin. Your skin can become leathery and develop sunspots, melasma, pre-cancers, freckles, redness, and fine lines. Damage in the deepest layers of the skin may not be immediately visible but can become noticeable later in life, though some signs may be seen from as early as a person’s teens and 20s. It is often particularly bad for people who had severe sunburns during childhood. Worse still, photoaging greatly increases the risk of skin cancer. The elastin and collagen that support the skin are also negatively affected by high-energy visible light (HEV) from the sun and electronic devices, as well as from infrared light.

Intense pulsed light therapy or IPL, is also called a photofacial. This is a light-based non-ablative treatment (as opposed to laser resurfacing, which can ablate or remove a layer of skin) intended to improve the visible appearance of the skin of the face, neck, hands, and chest by reducing sun damage. IPL gives off intense pulses of light, and the energy is absorbed by unwanted pigmented cells. The treated spots and others lesions eventually break down and are sloughed away from the surface. The treatment can be customized for different skin tones and concerns and is capable of reaching specific colored pigment on the skin’s surface.

Want to keep your skin protected from sun damage all year round? Follow these sun protection tips to keep hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and rough patches at bay:

  • Use sunscreen: Although we tend to think of sunscreen as something that’s only necessary when we’re going out into bright sunlight, it’s important to keep wearing it even on cold, foggy, overcast, rainy, or snowy days. Harsh UV rays can pass through windows and clouds and damage your skin, so experts say you should also wear sunscreen if you’re working from home. The best type to use is a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB rays with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) of 30 or more. Mineral sunscreens containing zinc oxide or titanium oxide help to block out both UV light and blue light from digital screens.
  • Choose lipsticks, lip balms, moisturizers and other makeup products with SPF.
  • Make a habit of reducing the time you spend in the sun in the middle of the day between 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Wear sun protective clothing and accessories like long-sleeved shirts and pants, broad-rimmed hats, sunglasses that filter UV light to protect the eyes and surrounding skin, and a neck scarf.
  • Incorporate products containing antioxidants like vitamins A and C into your daily regiment to repair skin damage.

Find out more about photoaging and the benefits of skin resurfacing treatments like IPL from the Mt. Vernon-based Skin Care Center of Southern Illinois. Call the practice directly at 618.244.0031 or fill out a contact form if you’d like to request a private consultation and discuss your skin concerns.



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Categories: Beauty Lifestyle