Sun is the dominant factor in the onset of premature ageing! Had we always protected our faces, the way Japanese women often do, our skin would age in a different, subtle way.
Ageing with sun protection
Our aged face would have a smooth and even surface with only few fine wrinkles. We would be able to distinquish some loss of elasticity (due to thickenned, disoriented bundles) and thinning (atrophy) but no signs of inflammation and only a moderate decrease in perfusion giving our facial skin slightly drawn, pale appearance. The upper skin layer, epidermis, would be still working well in comparison to photo-aged skin.
Ageing in the sun (photo-ageing)
If we have suntanned all our life, our facial skin will have an uneven (bumpy) surface and sallow, yellowish tone with mottled pigmentation (sun spots). We will see coarse wrinkles and a severe loss of elasticity (due to the thickening of dermis and increase in elastotic amorphous mass, less structural fibres and underlying inflammation). Also the capillaries become prominent on the skin surface (teleangiectasia) contributing to the uneven skin colour. Epidermal changes – and the risk of skin cancer – are also profound.