Photoaging: Skin Aging Due To UV Rays: How To Avoid It

Photoaging: Skin Aging Due To UV Rays

The sun’s UV radiation is one of the most serious environmental influences on our skin (2Opens in a new tab.) because, in addition to the tan that is perceived as beautiful (8Opens in a new tab.), it also causes premature skin aging (photoaging) (3Opens in a new tab.). In addition to increased wrinklesOpens in a new tab. (12Opens in a new tab.) and sagging skin, sun damage can also cause hyperpigmentationOpens in a new tab. and, in the worst case, skin cancerOpens in a new tab. (1Opens in a new tab.). So if you want to enjoy healthy and beautiful smooth skinOpens in a new tab. for as long as possible (9Opens in a new tab.), you should start early on to reduce the effects of skinOpens in a new tab. aging (4Opens in a new tab.). Remember: UVA rays also penetrate clouds (6Opens in a new tab.) and glass panes (5Opens in a new tab.) (10Opens in a new tab.). They, therefore, stress the skinOpens in a new tab. throughout the year (7Opens in a new tab.), so daily sun protection is recommended (11Opens in a new tab.).

Signs and symptoms: How UV radiation damages your skin

The effects of UV radiation include direct DNA damage and the formation of free radicals. The visible consequences can range from premature skin aging to skin cancerOpens in a new tab.. Because the face, hands, and décolleté (the low neckline on a woman’s dress or top) are more exposed to harmful rays than the rest of the body, these areas – especially the face – require careful care and constant protection all year round.

Typical signsOpens in a new tab. of premature skin aging (photoaging) are

  • Coarse skin patches and folds
  • Sagging skin texture
  • Uneven coloring
  • Light callosity
UVA rays penetrate deep into the lower skin layers and can damage the skin in the short and long term.


If you notice unclear skin changes, it could be photoaging or another condition. You should consult your family doctor or a dermatologist.

Causes And Triggers Of Photoaging: Skin Aging Due To UV Radiation

With increasing age the skin changes:

  • The amount of collagen and elastane in the skin decreases, the skin loses volumeOpens in a new tab. and elasticity and fine lines and wrinkles develop.
  • The skin loses its ability to store sufficient moisture and the body’s own production of natural moisturizing factors decreases. The skin becomes drier.
  • Uneven pigmentation may occur, such as dark spots called hyperpigmentation. Forms of this are age spots and sunspots and could be related to photoaging.
As the skin ages, it loses its elasticity.


The causes of premature skinOpens in a new tab. aging can be divided into two areas: internal (intrinsic, genetic) and external (extrinsic, environmental) factors:

  • Internal skin aging: This type of aging is completely natural and we have no influence on it. Intrinsic aging is caused by internal factors such as genetics, ethnic origin, and hormonal changes in the different phases of life.
  • External skin aging: External aging, on the other hand, is controllable. Extrinsic aging is caused by external factors such as the extrinsic aging of the skin, however, it can be controlled to a large extent. Influencing factors include the environment (weather conditions and sunshine), lifestyle (such as smoking and alcohol consumption), and medication. These factors can cause the skin to age prematurely.

In order to reduce the risk of extrinsic skin aging, experts recommend paying attention to daily UV protection – either with a suitable daycare product or with a sun protection product. You should also avoid excessive sunlight and refrain from smoking.

Protection Against UVA And UVB Radiation: Photoaging

More than 90% of the symptoms of skin aging are causedOpens in a new tab. by UV radiation. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause sun damage.

UVA rays penetrate deep into the subcutaneous tissue (subcutaneous tissue). They lead to the formation of free radicals and can thus trigger long-term sun damage such as skin aging and skin cancerOpens in a new tab.. UVB rays penetrate less deeply – they lead to acute sunburn and, via direct DNA damage, to long-term skin damage.

Although the radiant energy of UVA rays is lower than that of UVB rays, we are exposed to them 30 to 50 times more. They are present throughout the daylight period and with more or less constant intensity throughout the year.

Because they can even penetrate through the clouds and through glass panes, you should use care products with sunscreen even on cloudy days. Long-term sun damage can be prevented in this way. 

A UV camera can make damage to the skin caused by too much sunOpens in a new tab. visible that is not yet visible to the naked eye.

Preventing Sun Damage To The Skin And Photoaging

The importance of sun protection has been known for a long time and is confirmed by many studies. There is a high level of awareness of the dangers of unprotected skin when exposed to excessive solar radiation. This is shown by the fact that sun protection products are on almost every holiday packing list. Using it on particularly sunny days protects the skin safely from sunburn and long-term UV-induced damage.

But what about the areas that are constantly exposed to UV radiation – face, hands, and décolleté? It is only gradually becoming generally accepted that the early and regular use of a day cream with sun protection factor or sunscreen can prevent UV-induced skin aging.

Often we only realize the connection between sun exposure and UV-related skin aging when the first signs of aging become visible.

For example, only when the first wrinkles and small pigment spots appear. To effectively protect yourself from premature skin aging, you should use daily sunscreen all year round.


Anti-age care with sun protection or sun protection with anti-age effect?

Should one rather use anti-age care with integrated sun protection or better a sun cream with an anti-age effect? This depends on various factors.

Our rule of thumb:

  • On sunny summer or winter holidays, sun protection should be the main focus even on cloudy days.
  • For everyday life in the office or at home without long stays in the sun, the classic anti-age care is recommendedOpens in a new tab..

In principle, anti-aging and sun products can also be combined well with each other – the product that is applied first is more effective.

Sandra Eades

Hello I am Sandra Eades, physician, researcher and author from Australia. I am working currently as researcher for a private institution. I have studied in Britain and Australia, where I currently reside. I write about research topics in the organization of the public health government agencies. For the iMS I write about general medical conditions. I also research scholar sources to provide information to writers of other articles. I also check the citations of scholar papers. Finally, I read other articles before they are published. I am also a mother of three children!

Recent Content