361 Hospital Road, Suite 533, Newport Beach, CA 92663

Photoaging Newport Beach

Research shows that there are two types of aging: (1) intrinsic (internal) aging, which is caused by the genes we inherit and (2) extrinsic (external) aging, which is caused by environmental factors, such as exposure to the sun.

Intrinsic aging, also known as the natural aging process, is a continuous process that normally begins in our mid-20s. Genes control how quickly the normal aging process unfolds. An example of this is that some people notice those first gray hairs in their 20s; others do not see graying until their 40s. Aging within skin occurs at different rates for different people too.

As our skin ages, collagen production slows, and elastin, the substance that enables skin to snap back into place, has a bit less spring. Dead skin cells do not shed as quickly and turnover of new skin cells may decrease slightly. While these changes usually begin in our 20s, the signs of intrinsic aging are typically not visible for decades. The signs of intrinsic aging are:

  • Fine wrinkles
  • Thin and transparent skin
  • Loss of underlying fat
  • Bone loss
  • Dry skin that may itch
  • Graying hair that eventually turns white
  • Hair loss
  • Unwanted hair

A number of extrinsic, or external, factors often act together with the normal aging process to prematurely age our skin. Most premature aging is caused by sun exposure. Other external factors that prematurely age our skin are repetitive facial expressions, gravity, sleeping positions, and smoking.

  • The Sun: Just a few minutes of exposure each day over the years can cause noticeable changes to the skin. Studies have shown that UV rays account for up to 80% of aging in the skin. Freckles, age spots, spider veins on the face, rough and leathery skin, fine wrinkles that disappear when stretched, loose skin, a blotchy complexion, actinic keratoses (precancerous skin lesions), and skin cancer can all be traced to sun exposure.
    “Photoaging” is the term dermatologists use to describe this type of aging caused by exposure to the sun’s rays. The amount of photoaging that develops depends on: 1) a person’s skin color and 2) their history of long-term or intense sun exposure. People with fair skin who have a history of sun exposure develop more signs of photoaging than those with dark skin. In the darkest skin, the signs of photoaging are usually limited to fine wrinkles and a mottled complexion.
  • Facial Expressions: Repetitive facial movements actually lead to fine lines and wrinkles. Each time we use a facial muscle, a groove forms beneath the surface of the skin, which is why we see lines form with each facial expression. As skin ages and loses its elasticity, the skin stops springing back to its line-free state, and these grooves become permanently etched on the face as fine lines and wrinkles.
  • Gravity: Gravity constantly pulls on our bodies. Changes related to gravity become more pronounced as we age. In our 50s, when the skin’s elasticity declines dramatically, the effects of gravity become evident. Gravity causes the tip of the nose to droop, the ears to elongate, the eyelids to fall, jowls to form, and the upper lip to disappear while the lower lip becomes more pronounced.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoking causes biochemical changes in our bodies that accelerate aging. Research shows that a person who smokes 10 or more cigarettes a day for a minimum of 10 years is statistically more likely to develop deeply wrinkled, leathery skin than a nonsmoker. It also has been shown that people who smoke for a number of years tend to develop an unhealthy yellowish hue to their complexion. Additionally, a study conducted in 2002 showed that facial wrinkling, while not yet visible, can be seen under a microscope in smokers as young as 20. These signs can be greatly diminished, and in some cases avoided, by stopping smoking. Even people who have smoked for many years, or smoked heavily at a younger age, show less facial wrinkling and improved skin tone when they quit smoking.


While you cannot stop or even slow down the intrinsic aging process, you can prevent signs of premature aging by protecting your skin from the sun and quitting smoking.

Dermatologists recommend comprehensive sun protection to prevent premature aging caused by the sun. Comprehensive sun protection includes:

  • Avoiding deliberate tanning, including use of indoor tanning devices.
  • Staying out of the sun between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
  • Wearing protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves, when outdoors during the day.
  • Applying sunscreen year round. Sunscreen should be broad spectrum (offers UVA and UVB protection) and have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher. Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before going outdoors to all skin that will be exposed. It should be reapplied after sweating or being in water.

If you are bothered by visible signs of aging, a number of treatments are available to help. Injectable fillers and botulinum toxin are suitable for people with busy lifestyles who do not want the inconvenience of a long recovery. Dermabrasion, radio frequency, laser resurfacing, microneedling, chemical peels and some topical treatments can restore skin, giving it a smoother and refreshed appearance.

  • Dermabrasion is most often used to improve the look of facial skin left scarred by accidents or previous surgery, or to smooth out fine facial wrinkles, such as those around the mouth. It is also sometimes used to remove the pre-cancerous growths.
  • Fractional CO2 Laser Skin Resurfacing is a very effective anti-aging treatment that rejuvenates the skin’s texture and tone, leaving you with a lasting and healthy glow. This approach is used to treat fine lines, wrinkles and discoloration caused by sun damage, as well as to treat acne scars.
  • Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is a procedure to eliminate under-eye puffiness and drooping upper lids. 
  • FaceTite and AccuTite are non-surgical procedures that use radiofrequency, energy to essentially melt fat and tighten skin. This procedure can be used to improve fullness and laxity in the face and neck.
  • Microneedling is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that stimulates new collagen in the skin. Microneedling is used to rejuvenate the skin by improving the appearance of fine lines, enlarged pores, scars and hyperpigmentation.
  • Morpheus 8 is a minimally invasive microneedling with radiofrequency energy. It provides collagen stimulation with microneedling, along with skin tightening. Morpheus 8 can be used to rejuvenate skin on the face, neck, chest as well as improve scars and stretchmarks on other areas of the body.
  • Dermal fillers are used to restore youthful fullness to your face, enjoy plump lips, enhance shallow contours or soften facial creases and wrinkles. Dermal fillers have been called “liquid facelifts” because they offer many of the benefits of a surgical facelift without the downtime.
  • Neuromodulator Injections, such as Botox, Dysport, Xeomin, Jeuveau or Daxxify, are quick, minimally-invasive procedures that temporarily relax dynamic wrinkles around the eyes and forehead.
  • Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatment can correct a variety of benign skin conditions, such as: freckles, lentigos, small veins, broken capillaries, cherry angiomas and other blemishes. 
  • When coupled with ALA, the IPL device has proven to be effective in activating the ALA-associated with sun damaged cells, thus removing actinically damaged cells, including pre- skin cancers and early skin cancers. This procedure is called photodynamic therapy (PDT).
  • A chemical peel can effect dramatic improvement in skin texture and removal of pigmentary disorders. Depending on the depth of the peel, they can be used for removing superficial skin lesions, sun and age spots, as well as rough texture, dyschromia, and melasma.
  • Retinoids are topical vitamin A compounds used to treat photoaging. They have been shown to stimulate collagen synthesis and improve skin elasticity, which can partially reverse some of the fine lines and wrinkles that result from sun exposure as well as help to lighten hyperpigmentation and sallow discoloration.

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