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Ageing Of Skin

Only about 10% – 20% of skin ageing is inevitable and is due to the passing of time and gravity, combined with hereditary factors. These types of skin changes include the deepening of expression lines, thinning skin, loss of elasticity and dryness. External causes of skin ageing occur as a result of factors such as poor diet, sudden weight loss, stress, alcohol, smoking, pollution, and dry weather. However, the main cause of skin ageing is sun exposure.

Photoageing is the main cause of wrinkles. Photoageing or sun damage is caused by chronic sun exposure, resulting in many deeper, structural as well as surface skin changes. An American Academy of Dermatology Consensus Forum concluded that most (80% or so) of the visible changes we associate with ageing of skin (the wrinkles, the leathery and rough texture, the age spots) are due to sun damage.

The deeper levels of our skin contain cells which make collagen and elastin, which are proteins that keep our skin firm and prevent sagging. These proteins are damaged by the deeper penetrating rays of the sun and this results in photoageing.

By comparing our own skin in areas continually exposed to the sun, such as the face or the backs of the hands, with the skin on an unexposed area of the body, such as the inside forearm or buttocks, the result of solar damage or photoageing is obvious. Sun damage starts in childhood, although the results may not be seen until much later. The photoaged skin develops a rough, dry, coarseness and a yellowish, wrinkled appearance. Spider type veins become visible on the face and legs and the skin becomes a mottled, blotched colour. Benign growths, pre-cancerous growths and skin cancer may develop.

UV-A has been strongly implicated as a cause of photoageing. It penetrates more deeply than UV-B, and not only worsens the sunburning effect of UV-B, but damages the deeper layers of the skin. Infrared and visible light also have damaging effects on the skin, and penetrate more deeply than UV-B and UV-A rays.

In the case of aged skin, prevention is the primary aim. Preventing exposure of the skin to the damaging rays of the sun should be recommended. Dry, inelastic skin can be relieved with the use of emollient products.

Advice for the Patient
1. Minimise sun exposure between the hours of 10am and 2pm when the sun is strongest.
2. Whenever possible when out in the sun, wear a hat, a shirt of closely woven material and apply a broad spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin.
3. Sunscreens should be applied at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure and re-applied at least every 2 hours and after swimming, exercise, heavy perspiration and towelling dry.
4. The patient should be encouraged to use sun protection every day of the year.

Products to Help

All SUNSENSE sunscreens comply with the Australian UV-A testing standard.

According to recent scientific work, testing sunscreen components separately and together on humans, there is no doubt that the best UV-A protection over the entire UV-A range is provided by the combination of UV-A absorbers and a physical blocker*. When used frequently and sufficiently, the use of a sunscreen which protects the skin against the more deeply penetrating UV-A, UV-B, infrared and visible rays, will help prevent photoageing.

The SUNSENSE range of sunscreens were developed for one of the harshest environments in the world, Australia. The combination of UV-absorbers and microfine titanium dioxide provides protection from UV-A, UV-B, infrared and visible light rays. With many different formulations available there is one to suit most skin types and lifestyles. Particularly suitable for protection of the face and backs of hands is SUNSENSE Face Milk, SUNSENSE Daily Face and SUNSENSE Anti-Ageing Face.

Repair your skin with QV Skin Lotion or QV Cream, which help to restore your skin’s moisture by sealing in your body’s own moisture. They also add further moisture to relieve the dryness of your skin. Like all QV products, QV Skin Lotion and QV Cream have a pH of 6 to maintain the skin’s natural protection. The QV range is free from lanolin, perfume, colour and propylene glycol to suit the most sensitive of skin types.

QV Skin Lotion is light, non-greasy and easy to apply to all parts of your body. QV Skin Lotion repairs dry skin, leaving it feeling soft and smooth. For best results, apply straight after a shower or bath. QV Skin Lotion is recommended to treat extensive areas.

This rich protective cream is excellent for very dry areas of skin, such as the elbows, knees, hands or neck. QV Cream is a highly concentrated
moisturising cream. It contains squalane (a natural ingredient of human sebum - the skin’s natural oil) which leaves the skin soft and supple.

The skin on your lips can be very sensitive. It is also one of the areas that is most likely to suffer the effects of your environment. QV Lip Balm is a soft, smooth gel that soothes, protects and moisturises dry, chapped and sensitive lips. It also contains SPF 30+ sunscreen for added protection from sunburn and premature ageing. The lipstick shaped applicator is kind to lips and doesn’t drag across the lips like solid sticks do.

* Roelandts, R., (1991) J.Am. Acad. Dermatol., 25, 999.