Nonmalignant Photodamage

Joseph F. Coffey, BSc, MD; Gordon E. Searles, OD, MD, MSc, FRCPC


Geriatrics and Aging. 2006;9(7):494-498. 

In This Article


After one century of sunbathing we have to both face the consequences and be aware of the innate dangers of overexposure to sunlight or UV such as dermatoheliosis, premature aging of the skin, epidermal precancers, skin carcinoma, and melanoma.[13] As aging progresses, patients will move from the least invasive techniques, such as nonablative resurfacing, radio frequency skin tightening, and botulinum toxin injections, to fillers, followed by traditional resurfacing and surgical interventions for treatment of benign dermatoheliosis. Multiple modalities are available to treat both benign and malignant sequelae of photoaging and are divided into topical, oral, and surgical/ablative techniques. It is important to have knowledge of the multiple therapies available to your aging patient, especially in the face of a rapidly growing field of photo-rejuvenation, and eradication of cutaneous malignancy.

Currently there is high demand for ablative and nonablative therapy for photoaged skin. The majority of patients are women in their 50s to 70s, although men are starting to pursue these therapies more often. Many of the treatments are cosmetic; regardless, photoaged skin does provide a background for malignant lesions, and treatments such as alpha hydroxy acid peels, intense pulsed light, and vitamin A acids are used to prevent and treat malignant photodamaged skin. With an aging population, and a change in societal recreational practices (solarium use, outdoor sports, gardening, etc.) it is important to prevent photodamage in all age groups through proper sun avoidance, protective clothing, and sunscreens. Photoaged skin may progress to skin cancer, and both sun awareness and avoidance is essential in the management of UV-induced skin damage in the older adult and general populations.


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