Picture the result of your skin being burned by fire for five seconds. These five seconds is equivalent to your skin having lived under the sun for 40 to 60 years. Even when you work indoors, damages already accumulate as you travel to and fro from work each day.
Ultraviolet waves can be subdivided into:
1. Wrinkles
2. Freckles
3. Age spots
4. Skin Coarsening
5. Actinic Keratosis
6. Uneven Skin Texture
7. Prominent Skin Veins
8. Prone to Skin Cancer
We call this 'Photoaging'
*SPF only denotes how well a product can stop UV-B. It does not mean a product can stop UV-A at all!
Degree of Photoaging is dependent on:
1. Skin color
2. Skin care products used
3. Amount of sun exposure
Imagine having your skin being burn on top of a fire for 5 seconds. These 5 seconds is equivalent to having your skin exposed to the sun on and off for about 40 years. Even a few minutes each day, damages can be accumulative.
Investigations has shown that Ultraviolet rays from the skin halt collagen production and cell regeneration, leading to coarsening, loosening of skin and appearance of winkles. Those living in strong sunlight areas will have signs of photoaging as early as teenage. Some even begins to have Actinic Keratosis and Skin Cancer at an early age.

Often photoaging symptoms can appear overnight as the damage starts to surface. But be assured that problems had been building up for many years under the epidermis. Those with whiter complexions or frequent sunlight exposures are particularly prone to photoaging.
Early Photoaging Changes
Middle/Advanced Photoaging Changes
1. Skin dryness
2. Skin itchiness
3. Uneven textures
4. Skin thinning or thickening
5. Difficult healing after damage
1. Wrinkles
2. Coloured spots
3. Telangiectasias
4. Actinic keratosis
5. Prominent Veins
6. Cherry Angiomas
7. Seborrhoeic Keratosis
8. Senile or Actinic Purpura
There are 3 steps to combat photoaging:
  • Avoid strong sunlight
  • Employ effective sunscreens
  • Cosmetic medical rejuvenation modalities
    (please refer to How to Combat Aging Skin)
  • As sunlight is one of the main causes of skin aging, protection from ultraviolet rays are especially important:
  • Wear hats and long sleeves
  • Use an effective sunscreen daily
  • Use clothes with adequate coverage
  • Avoid going out from 10am to 4pm
  • Use an umbrella under strong sunlight
  • Prevent activities under strong sunlight such as watersports

    Even in shady days, 80% of ultraviolet still arrives on earth.
    Thus sunscreens are just as important even if you can't see the sun.
  • Suncare Products
    SPF (Sun Protection Factor) means the time delayed in getting burnt under strong sunlight when you put on a sunscreen. For example, the usual burn time is 20-40minutes, an SPF of 15 means the sunscreen can prolong this time to 5 hours when used properly.

    However this is rather redundant as a normal sunscreen can only stay on the skin for 2-4 hours. So the SPF factor only denotes the 'strength' of a sunscreen in repelling UV-B only, it does not even tell how much it can protect UVA. Thus there is not much difference for products with SPF > 30.
    Benzophenones (Oxybenzone)
    Avobenzone (PARSOL 1789)
    Titanium Dioxide
    Zinc Oxide
    Of which Mexoryl and Zinc Oxide has the best
    protective effect against UV-A.
    Zinc Oxide Sunscreens
    Those with Zinc Oxide are usually more expensive
    Concentration of Zinc Oxide can range from 1% to 12%
    The higher the concentration, the greater the protective effect but is more sticky
    To Prevent 'Milia' formation
    when using strong sunscreens
    Some people experience tiny acne like formations when using stickier sunscreens. To prevent this, one can use a newer generation fruit acids (PHA) under the sunscreen. Not only can it prevent milia formation, it has strong moisturizing and wrinkle prevention properties. However one should test patch on the skin to look for any sensitivity first.
    Correct way to use sunscreen:
    Start applying 20 minutes before sun exposure.
    Use a $5 hkd size of volume (most people use inadequate volume. Note do not miss ears, nose, hands and feet. Lips could be covered with an above SPF 15 lip balm).
    Reapply after 1 hour in strong sunlight, or after water activities, or profuse sweating.
    It is our recommendation to use a sunscreen at least SPF 30, with Zinc Oxide >5% or has Mexoryl.
    Prescription Medicine and the Sun:
    Certain medications when ingested will cause a photoreaction on the dermis, increasing the chance of having pigmented lesions several folds:
    Antibiotics, such as tetracyclines
    Antiacne medication Isotretinoin
    Antihistamines for runny nose
    Antiinflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen
    Long Duration Sunscreens
    A normal sunscreen only lasts for about 30 minutes to 1 hour under very strong sunlight before it is 'used up'. Thus there are long duration sunscreens available. These can last for greater than 4 hours under strong sunlight, and is waterproof.
    Antioxidant Skin Care Products
    This is essential to combat photoaging. Antioxidants can undergo photoreaction in place of the skin, thus preventing any UV damage. The prototypes of antioxidants are Vitamin C and E. On application for greater than 3 days, your skin will start to saturate with the compound. These have on average another 40% sunlight protection apart from using sunscreens.
    There are many forms of Vitamin C, such as L-ascorbic acid, or Magnesium Ascorbate. They have differences in terms of better absorption or stability in storage. But at the end of the day, the importance is its daily use in whatever form.
    Because antioxidants reacts to light, they must be stored in opaque plastic or tea colored glass bottles.
    Anti-aging treatment
    With the advance in medicine, we now have ways to reverse aging skin. Non-traumatize treatments have few side effects and minimal downtime, and are suitable for the busy cosmopolitan community.
    Treatment Includes
    Newer modalities of treatment comes out everyday. With the confusing choices of treatments, over the counter products and commercials, it is best to obtain professional advise in terms of skin analysis, discuss on expectations and to suggest a proper course of skin care management.
    Laser/Lights Therapy
    Radiofrequency Treatment
    These includes intense pulsed lights, lasers and such as spectra peels. They are effective in removing freckles, colored spots, pore size reduction, removing small skin veins as well as skin rejuvenation. They can be combined with other treatments such as Botox or diamond dermabrasion for best effect.
    This is an effective but non surgical way to tighten and rejuvenate the skin, thus better than a conventional face lift. It can reduce wrinkles and cheek jowls without any downtime.
    Hyaluronic acid fillers can help remove scarring, as well as nose shaping and removal of nasolabial folds.
    Acid Peels
    Botox Injection
    Diamond Dermabrasion
    Fruit acid peels can improve skin tone, remove acnes and help with scarring. Because it works by stimulating new growth, it can smooth out the skin and reduce wrinkles.
    Botox is a muscle relaxant, thus the underlying muscles can no longer form wrinkles on the skin. Starting injection at a young age can prevent any deep wrinkle formation.
    It is one of the permanent way to remove skin scarring.
    1. Avoid sunlight when the weather forecast gives a high UV index.
    2. Avoid prolonged sun exposure
    If you need to stay under the sun,you should:
    a. Stay under a tree or shadows when possible
    b. Wear wide brimmed hats
    c. Use an umbrella
    d. Wear sunglasses
    e. Wear loose long sleeve clothings (some even have anti-UV properties)