Everyone has to face the day they realize their skin is aging. While it’s a completely natural part of life, there are some of us who want to prevent, manage, and even treat signs of aging and restore our skin to a healthy, youthful appearance.
What causes skin to age?
Skin aging is the external result of internal processes occurring within the body. Both factors, internal and external, play a key role in aging skin.
“Internal aging involves hormonal changes and genetics, and is out of our control. However, external factors such as sun exposure, diet, smoking, and environmental pollutants play the biggest role by accelerating skin aging and can be controlled.”
Beginning as early as your 20s, you already start to lose the elasticity in your skin, leading to the development of fine lines (among other changes we’ll detail below).
Why does growing older cause these changes to our skin?
Every single person ages as they get older. This is due to the genetics of humans as a whole.
Ringaile Sirvaitis explains, “The extracellular matrix (ECM) provides skin with strength and elasticity. It contains various proteins and other molecules that provide support and structure. The ECM helps cells to communicate and regulates cell dynamics and behavior. Collagen and elastin are proteins that are found within the ECM. These proteins are responsible for structure, volume and tightness of our skin. Fibroblasts are the cells found in connective tissue and are responsible for production of new elastin and collagen by communicating with other cells within ECM.”
What this means is that aging skin reduces collagen and elastin production and alters its structure. It becomes thin, wrinkly, and fragile with impaired vascular support.
What are some of the most common signs of aging people see on their skin, and how can a dermatologist treat each of these?
Whether we like it or not, most of us notice certain signs of aging as we get older. Depending on your own genetics and other factors, what you see as the first signs can be different from others.
Over all, most people notice these signs of aging:
1. Wrinkles and fine lines
As you learned above, everyone gets wrinkles and fine lines. One way you can treat that is with Botox.
“Botox is a neuromodulator, which temporarily paralyzes specific muscles to prevent and treat fine lines and wrinkles. Patients are thrilled to see how much Botox can soften lines in the forehead and around the eyes.”
2. Volume loss
Fillers can replace lost volume, help to smooth wrinkles, and restore a more youthful appearance.
“The most popular use is for nasolabial and marionette folds, also it can plump the lips, and correct mid face volume loss. My approach to fillers is to restore volume loss, create contour and subtle lift instantly.”
3. Dark spots
Dark spots can be caused for a few reasons, among the most common is excessive sun exposure.
“Prescription-strength hydroquinone alone or combined with other lighteners is considered to be the gold standard treatment for pigmentation.”
Also a valuable treatment are, azelaic acid and daily retinoids help to lighten dark patches. Topicals with acids (vit. C, glycolic acid, AHAs, kojic acid, azelaic acid, trichloroacetic acid) can help to improve lighter forms of hyperpigmentation.
“The use of combination treatments with chemical peels, microdermabrasion, intense pulsed-light therapy, and lasers will work faster to treat dark spots than just topicals alone.”
4. Texture changes
“To improve skin texture you will want to incorporate retinoids into your nightly routine because they are not stable during the daytime. They are the gold standard for fine lines and wrinkles,” Ringaile Sirvaitis says.
Also, acids like vit. C (antioxidant) and AHA/BHAs (azelaic acid, lactic acid, glycolic acid, etc.) can gently exfoliate, brighten and resurface the skin.
Don’t forget to moisturize your skin. Lack of moisture leads to dehydration and wrinkling. Treatments such as microneedling, platelet rich plasma (PRP), microdermabrasion, stronger chemical peels, intense-pulse light, and lasers (Fraxel, CO2 etc.) can be very helpful to target deeper textural problems.
What should patients do at home to help keep skin youthful?
While the best way to seriously treat signs of aging is to work with a qualified and experienced dermatologist, there are ways you can start to help signs of aging at home.
Daily SPF 30+ or higher is the goal, such as the Apex Sun Shield SPF 50 sheer or tinted. Don’t forget to apply the proper amount, a half-teaspoon, for the face and neck.
Is there anything else you advise patients to do to help slow down the signs of aging?
It all boils down to one thing, in the end: your lifestyle.
“Your daily habits will make the greatest impact on your skin. Don’t smoke, limit alcohol, obtain adequate sleep, seek shade, eat well and your skin will thank you.”
When it comes to healthy looking skin, prevention and restoration is the key. Studies show that photodamage caused by the sun can reduce collagen production by 80%. I believe that what is built into our DNA is very difficult to control, nevertheless, how we take care of our skin and behave every day is up to us.
To prioritize your skin and either prevent or treat signs of aging, click here to schedule an appointment with us to get started on your anti-aging regimen.
Ringaile Sirvaitis is board certified by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners National Certification Program (AANP), as a family nurse practitioner. Born in Lithuania she has resided in the United States since 1999. In addition to English, she is fluent in Lithuanian and Russian. For many years her passion and interests were focused on health, and more particularly, on beautiful skin. During her advanced nursing training she has studied in the dermatology department of Cleveland Clinic. Her diverse background and expertise in skin care gives her an excellent platform for sharing her knowledge and educating patients about the preservation, nurture, and well being of the skin.