Why do some people seem to show the physical signs of aging very slowly, while others age more rapidly? Well, certainly your genetics can play a role, but anyone can mitigate that process and look great at any age. But there are so many recommendations out there, how do you know what to do? Well, even though specific recommendations may be varied, there is a general, proven roadmap that you can follow.
First, lets address the things to AVOID if you want to stop your skin and health damage.
1. Don’t Smoke! And if you do now, Quit! Smoking chronically deprives the skin of oxygen and nutrients, while exposing it to chemicals and oxidative stress. This breaks down collagen, leading to early wrinkle formation, skin discoloration (including that greyish tone sometimes associated with heavy smoking) and dry, damaged skin.
2. Protect yourself from the sun. The sun’s UVA and UVB rays cause DNA changes in the skin at the cellular level. Because this damage occurs in the deepest level of the skin, the dermis, it can take years to see the physical signs. We are especially prone to damage in the areas that are chronically exposed- think your face and hands. Photodamage can show up as dark spots, wrinkles, or in the worst-case scenario- skin cancer.
Now lets talk about what we can do to positively affect our skin and aging- let’s break it down by decade:
1. Sunscreen! Sun protection here is critical so you are not dealing with the effects of sun damage down the road.
2. Medical grade skincare. Yes. It’s time to stop buying drug store brands, or the dreaded MLM sales. Medical grade skincare is rigorously tested to ensure that you are getting what you paid for- the others are not. While medical grade skincare may seem more expensive in the beginning, a simple routine will save you money on failed products and the damage they will do.
3. Around the age of 20, you start to produce about 1% less collagen a year. So by 25- its time to invest in a Retinol. Retinols are forms of vitamin A that are applied topically to the skin. They help the skin to turn over faster and help to formulate collagen. They are also first line treatment for acne. Note that some of these products may not be safe for pregnancy- so always discuss with your dermatologist the risks and benefits of these amazing products.
1. Welcome to your 30’s! Now that collagen and elastin slowdown is in full effect. You are going to continue with your medical grade skincare, sun protection and retinol if possible. We are also going to start encouraging more collagen and elastin growth. This includes treatments like Halo Laser resurfacing or Microneedling to cause controlled damage and signal your body to make more collagen.
2. Time for Botox! Botox works on muscle to slow or weaken their movement. You want to start Botox for wrinkles BEFORE the lines are set in at rest.
3. Since we are now losing facial fat and collagen, time to invest in some fillers. We lose volume fast, especially around the cheekbones. Adding small amounts of filler will stop your skin from sagging and keep your youthful appearance.
4. Even though you’ve been good about the sun, we still get some photodamage. Laser treatments like BBL for dark spots help to keep the skin genetically younger.
1. Continue your treatment plan from your 30’s!
2. Now most people are noticing heaviness around the mouth or lower face. Our skin ages forward and down, leading to jowling. PDO threads are a great non-invasive way to help to lift the skin of the face. By starting early, you will stop the skin from stretching and pulling leading you more skin laxity.
1. At some point, you may notice more heaviness and skin changes. While surgery is not for everyone, facial plastics have come a long way. Many times, the surgery is done with local and IV sedation (no general sedation) and can leave you looking refreshed. Talk to your injector about when its time to consider a referral to a great surgeon.
We are living longer and longer. It’s time to love how we look at every stage of our lives.
Sarah McIntee PA – C