Marian Northington, M.D., director of UAB Cosmetic Dermatology, said that "Photoaging - or the changes induced by chronic UVA and UVB exposure - is responsible for accelerating the skin's aging process."
She said that "daily incidental sun exposures - running out to the car, going to the mailbox and exercising - add up and result in wrinkles, sun spots and potentially cancerous lesions."
Northington asserted that the No. 1 way people can prevent photoaging is wearing a 30-plus SPF sunscreen - one that contains zinc oxide - every day.
If it is too late, and the sun has already done its damage, or if someone is just more mature in age, there are ways to diminish the signs of aging.
Northington said that using an over-the-counter cream with retinol, which is a vitamin A derivative, can decrease the risk of skin cancer and improve skin pigmentation and abnormalities, as well as increase collagen content to help with lines and wrinkles.
She explained that Fraxel laser resurfacing is an excellent way to improve wrinkles, pigmentation and abnormalities, asserting that there are also skin-tightening devices that improve skin laxity, as well as injections that will replace lost volume that occurs with aging to lift the face nonsurgically and reduce lines and wrinkles.
Northington says studies have shown some dermatologic skin-improvement methods have benefits beyond an improved appearance.