What is Solar Elastosis?
Solar elastosis is a medical condition in which the skin modifies its color (often times it is yellow) and it becomes thicker, as a direct result of sun damage. This condition is also known as actinic elastosis or photoaging and it is especially encountered in people with fair complexions. The skin normally is constituted of collagen and elastin. In the case of elastosis, the collagen layer is damaged and the elastic layer overcompensates by accumulating excessively. The accumulation of abnormal elastin is not only noticed on the skin but also on the eye conjunctiva. It seems that prolonged and excessive exposure to the sun is the main culprit behind solar elastosis.
Symptoms of Solar Elastosis
These are the main symptoms that appear in the case of solar elastosis:
- Yellow hue on the skin
- Thickness of the skin
- Appearance of bumps on the skin
- Wrinkly texture
- Skin dryness
- Deep fissures (especially on the back area of the neck, this is often exposed to the sun)
- Fine scaling
- Increased skin pigmentation
- Angiomas and telangiectasia
What Causes Solar Elastosis?
The main cause that leads to the appearance of solar elastosis is the prolonged and excessive exposure to the sun. Patients who have fair complexions and who also burn easily are at high risk of developing this medical condition. Frequent sunburns are a definite cause, since the skin is renewed by the abnormal accumulation of elastin to the detriment of the collagen layer. Another very important cause of solar elastosis is smoking, as it is a well known fact that smoking leads to the premature aging of the skin. Plus, it seems that there is a genetic predisposition and that there are many patients with Down syndrome diagnosed with solar elastosis in the later stages of life.
Treatment for Solar Elastosis
The treatment of solar elastosis is essential because, in many patients, this condition is often associated with skin cancers of different types, including squamous carcinoma. Treating solar elastosis and taking a few preventive measures can prevent the skin cancer from appearing.
These are the most common courses of treatment for solar elastosis:
- Carbon dioxide layer resurfacing
- Topical creams – imiquimod, tacrolimus
- Topical estrogen therapy
- Pulsed dye laser
- Intense pulsed light
- Dermal fillers
- Neurotoxin injections with botulinum toxin
These are the preventive measures you should consider when being diagnosed with solar elastosis:
- Eat healthy fruits and vegetables to deliver vitamins and minerals to the skin
- Drink plenty of water to hydrate the skin
- Avoid sun exposure and if you must go out during hot summer days, wear sunscreen with high protection factor and cotton clothes
- Develop a healthy skin care regimen, with cosmetics and skin care products made from natural ingredients
- Stop smoking, as this will also stop the skin from aging prematurely
As you can see for yourself, the main culprit behind the appearance of solar elastosis is the prolonged exposure to the sun. Unlike in other medical conditions, where there are causes you cannot control, this is not the case. By taking good care of your skin, you can prevent this medical condition from appearing or you can delay its appearance as much as it is possible. However, if it happens from it to appear, don’t take this for granted. This medical condition can easily turn into skin cancer if left untreated and especially if you continue to constantly expose yourself to the sun for prolonged periods of time. These preventive measures can be of help and you should definitely consider them.
Solar Elastosis Pictures
Pictures of Solar Elastosis…
I am a 60 y.o. female. Have been smoking since 17. I smoke approx. 20 per day. I have severe elastosis and deep wrinkles around my mouth and chin. There was no gradual elastosis over months. It feels as if it appeared over night. It has impacted on my life whereby I am embarrassed to be in public. I have smoker friends who are older and they do not have this condition.