Nonmalignant Photodamage

Joseph F. Coffey, BSc, MD, PGY4 Dermatology, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.
Gordon E. Searles, OD, MD, MSc, FRCPC, Assistant Clinical Professor; Program Director, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB.

As the population ages, the corresponding rise in incidence of skin cancer and photodamaged skin necessitate skin assessments of older patients in the dermatology clinic. Sallowness, wrinkles, solar lentigos, and other benign conditions reflect extensive ultraviolet damage to the skin, and provide a background of mutagenesis for skin cancer formation. Some treatments available for photodamaged skin are cosmetic and only available in a dermatology or plastic surgery office setting. However, there are many treatments that improve sun-damaged skin as well as prevent progression to skin cancer formation; these tools are available in the primary care physician’s office. This article addresses ablative and nonablative treatment options for sun-damaged skin and encourages the promotion of sun-safe behaviours, including use of protective clothing and sunscreen.
Key words: photoaging, therapy, prevention, cosmetic, nonablative, ablative.