Healthy Aging Skin
Time gets the best of us all. But we can do it better. Yes, the skin will age no matter what we do. This is called biological aging, but we can prevent a lot of the photo-aging that causes us to look “old”. Photo-aging is caused from sun-damage and causes quite significant skin changes that are preventable.
Biological or extrinsic skin aging is the skin’s normal process of aging. Over time, the skin becomes more lax in tone, the expression lines become deeper from muscles moving the same underneath the skin over many years, the skin becomes more dry and there is a generalized overall thinning that occurs. This is different than what occurs in photo-aged skin. When this damage occurs, the skin becomes more leathery with dryness, but often gets thicker (instead of thinner). It becomes yellow and often develops red dilated blood vessels on the surface. There are deep wrinkles with furrows in the skin. The skin will sag in places and bags will appear in others. There can also be a wide variety of skin lesions that can be benign, premalignant or malignant on the skin.
This is an example of the difference in Biological (Extrinsic) aging verses Photo-aging:
So, what I can tell you is to start early to protect your skin. We are much better today about starting our children out early with sunscreen use, slathering it on each and every time they are outside. Not only sunscreen use, but clothing protection and wide-brimmed hats are a must. It’s not only the UV light that causes damage, its infrared rays that cause damage a large majority of premature aging.
Now, since the majority of us have already done quite a bit of damage to our skin, what do we do now? Well it’s never too late to start protecting your skin from further damage. That’s a start. Every day, rain or shine, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30. Reapply every two hours if going outside or sweating or swimming. I prefer mineral-based sunscreens. The major boo-boo most make is not applying enough sunscreen to properly protect the skin. If you aren’t using enough, then the SPF rating on the product isn’t being applied to your skin. For the face and neck area, you need about ½ teaspoon amount or more. For the body, think a shot glass full for an average body size (more if overweight or obese). Apply at least 15 minutes before going outside. In addition to this, get a wide-brimmed hat (with a string so it doesn’t blow off your head around here) and put it on anytime you head outside) to further protect your face and neck.
Now, what do you do to try to reverse the damage that has already been done, because most of us do have this because number one, either we are 40 or above and sunscreen just wasn’t pushed that much yet, or, number two, we just didn’t listen. Either way, we all want to look better, look younger, feel better about ourselves, and like what we see staring back at ourselves in the mirror. There really are a number of treatments that are now available to improve not only some of the biological aging that occurs, but much of the photo-aging as well. The treatments that stimulate collagen in the skin are extremely helpful to generate the body’s own collagens that diminish as we age or get damaged with environmental damage (including smoking and diet) and sun damage that make us look old. Treatments such as microneedling, Skinfinity Radiofrequency, PRP, Intense Pulsed Light Skin Rejuvenation treatments, and many others can help the skin become renewed and “younger” as it rebuilds these new collagens. In addition, many of these treatments also resurface the skin, treat redness, pigmentation abnormalities, and other things that create that “old” appearance to the skin.
These treatments take time to work and don’t work overnight, but you will start to see results even after 1-2 treatments. Ultimately, most need 6 treatments in a series, then maintenance treatment 2-4 times yearly, since aging continues (darn) forever.
Other treatments that can help you see results quicker can be with neurotoxin injections like Botox or Xeomin to reduce the movement of muscle beneath the skin, so reduction of expression lines. In addition, dermal fillers such as Juvederm can improve the appearance by filling in areas and re-contour the skin sort of like re-inflating a deflated balloon. The skin’s elasticity changes as we age, the skin sags, the fat pads change, the muscles change, the bones change and decrease, so we re-inflate it to improve the shape to a more youthful shape again.
All these treatments can be done fairly quickly with minimal downtime or no downtime.
I hope this gives you some information and is thought provoking. Please contact me for a consultation or treatment.
Shari J. Twigg, MD
Board Certified in Aesthetic Medicine