Solar elastosis is a degenerative condition which affects the connective tissues of the skin. Normally, the skin undergoes gradual degeneration. Frequent exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light may accelerate this degenerative process through a process which is termed photoaging. This increased rate of aging of the skin is termed solar elastosis. Every time that ultraviolet light interacts with the skin it causes slight, but progressive, damage to the skin. These changes gradually become apparent as the skin loses its flexibility and resilience. People who are sensitive to sunlight and often suffer sunburn rather than tanning are at an increased risk of developing solar elastosis.
Causes of Solar Elastosis
The skin is composed of two types of connective tissues. Collagen, a strong, white fiber and Elastin, a thin, yellow elastic fiber. Repeated exposure of the skin to ultraviolet radiation damages these fibers. Gradually, the amount of collagen present in the skin is decreased. Concurrently, the amount of elastic fibers increases, however, the elastic fibers loose some of their elasticity. You may also be at an increased risk for developing skin cancer.
Signs and Symptoms of Solar Elastosis
Solar elastosis produces loose, wrinkled and sagging skin. The skin also takes on a tough, leathery appearance. It is often dry and wrinkled. These conditions occur in people chronically outdoors, such as farmers, sunbathers, sailors and others.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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