The New England Journal of Medicine recently released this shocking image of a 66-year old truck driver to depict photoaging—premature aging of the skin caused by repeated exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun.
You scream. I scream. We all scream for sunscreen after seeing a picture of sun damage like this one. It’s so easy to forget our daily sunscreen regimen…or to fall into that “it won’t happen to me” mentality.
Please let this image serve as a harsh reminder of exactly what our beloved sun can do. An ABC news article states that William (Bill) Edward McElligott “…is two different ages, 66 and 86 years old.”
According to the article, “The 66-year-old truck driver suffers from unilateral dermatoheliosis or photo-aging, which was caused by repeated, long-term exposure to UVA rays of the sun. It was 15 years before he noticed any difference between the two sides of his face, but McElligott ignored it, that is until his grandchildren’s questions got the best of him.”
What Is Photoaging?
“Photo” is derived from the Greek word, “phos” meaning “light.” Photoaging differs from chronological aging since it is the UV rays from the sun or tanning beds, rather than time, that causes the skin’s structures to be altered.
In laymen’s terms, the photoaging shown here is a gradual, asymptomatic thickening and wrinkling of the skin on the left side of his face—the side that’s repeatedly exposed to UV rays.
Early Signs of Photoaging:
- Various pigmented spots resembling freckles, age spots or liver spots
- Wrinkles and fine lines around the eyes and mouth
- A loss of skin tone
- Spider veins or broken blood vessels on the cheek, nose and neck
- Leathery skin texture
Unsurprisingly, a study published in the May 2010 edition of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, shows that incidences of skin cancer on the left side of the face are on the rise.
Don’t let this happen to you!
Protect yourself daily, year-round. Look for ”Broad Spectrum” sunscreen products—for maximum protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Learn more about Broad Spectrum products and the proper ingredients to look for here: Broad Spectrum sun protection.
While prevention is your best approach, your skin may already be showing signs of damage from previous sun exposure. It is possible to remove age spots and get rid of sun spots on skin. See our tips to remedy sun damage if you are experiencing hyperpigmentation, textural skin changes, or fine lines and wrinkles.
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