Regular overexposure of the skin to the sun has the cumulative effect of accelerating the signs of ageing over a period of years, as a result of damage to fibres within the dermis. Collagen fibres, which are responsible for supporting the skin’s structure, are damaged, and synthesis of new collagen is impaired, whilst damage to the elastin fibres results in a loss of elastic tone and the appearance of loose skin.
As well as loose skin, other common signs of photo-ageing are hyperpigmentation (often referred to as age spots or liver spots), spider veins (naevi), wrinkles, rough or leathery skin, a blotchy complexion, actinic keratosis, which appears as thick, wart-like, rough, reddish patches of skin, and skin cancer.
The degree to which the skin exhibits such signs of photo-ageing depends on skin colour as well as the intensity and frequency of the exposure to the sun, with fair skin being far more susceptible than dark skin.
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