UGH, THE DREADED ‘A’ WORD.
I want to start by saying, aging skin is natural.
It’s normal. It’s inevitable.
There is nothing we can do to actually stop the aging process, or the biological processes that naturally occur in our body and our skin as we add candles to the cake.
But, are there things that we can do to pause, reverse, or slow down the signs of aging?
Yes, hunnay, yes there are. Let’s talk about it.
Some of you may be wondering:
what ARE the signs of aging in my skin?
…What should I be looking for?
WELL, LET’S START WITH THE MOST OBVIOUS AND WELL-RECOGNIZED SIGN, WRINKLES.
To put it in simple terms: when the body ages, cells divide more slowly causing the the dermis (the layer below the epidermis) to thin and break down. I like to think of the ‘dermis layer’ as the layer that is providing the “structure” of your skin. This layer is comprised of collagen and elastin fibers. When these fibers are broken down and unable to repair themselves efficiently, then the integrity of your structure begins to weaken and “structure” begins to atrophy, in a sense. Meanwhile, depressions are being made on the skin’s surface, due to daily facial expressions and other extrinsic aging factors. Aging skin also loses its ability to retain moisture and produce and secrete oil on the epidermis, which all contributes to the visible wrinkling and crepiness of the skin. yay.
ANOTHER SIGN OF AGING SKIN WOULD BE THE PRESENCE OF PIGMENT, OR WHAT’S MORE COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS “SPOTS.”
While there are many different pigment conditions, most patches of discoloration are pigmentary changes that occur in the areas of skin that are overexposed to UV light. When your body is excessively exposed to the sun, it begins to overproduce melanin as a defense mechanism against the damaging rays. The skin overproduces melanin as a trauma response. I’m also going to group inflammation and redness (or ruddy skin) into this category. While some facial redness may be due to a skin condition called Rosacea, some redness may actually be induced by the sun! Repeated, excessive exposure to UV light causes stretching of the blood vessels resulting in broken capillaries and facial redness.
ANOTHER SIGN OF AGING IS VOLUME LOSS.
As we age, the fat pads beneath the skin start to deteriorate and diminish. This results in a thinner and more drooped facial appearance. Some may look at their face and think that gravity has taken a toll and caused their skin to “fall down” when in reality, it is the loss of volume and elasticity in the skin, causing the structure to sink in and the skin to pull downward.
Goodbye plump, youthful appearance.
OTHER SIGNS THAT MAY PRESENT IN AGING FACIAL SKIN MAY BE THE TEXTURE OF THE SKIN ITSELF, AND A SALLOW, LACKLUSTER QUALITY.
There are several factors that cause aging skin, but I will simplify them into two categories. There is intrinsic aging, which is the natural and genetically driven process of degeneration of cells, hormonal changes, and the body’s inability to repair damaged cells. This process is also known as chronological aging and is predetermined by your genetic clock, so to speak.
Extrinsic aging are signs of aging that occur as a result of lifestyle and environment. Things like:
and, even lack of sleep.
Extrinsic factors are the things that you can change in order to prevent signs, or slow the signs of aging.
DID YOU KNOW THAT ALL THESE THINGS CONTRIBUTED TO HOW YOUR SKIN AGES?
ALRIGHT, NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF…..
Let’s talk about what can be done to address these lovely aging signs, shall we?
OF COURSE, good-quality, medical-grade skin care is extremely beneficial in your pursuit of glowing, healthy, youthful-looking skin…but you already know that, right? (To understand the difference between medical grade skin care and over-the-counter products, see previous post here) Using quality skin care at home will help enhance the results you see from procedures done in the spa.
One of my favorite procedures for addressing signs of aging is the Intense Pulsed Light Treatment, also known as a Photofacial, Photorejuvenation, or an IPL. Intense Pulsed Light is a non-invasive, non-ablative light therapy device. The IPL works by emitting wavelengths of light energy to treat the skin and target the damaged and pigmented cells. It is effective at treating age spots, sun damaged skin, birthmarks, some scarring, vascular lesions (such as broken capillaries), redness/rosacea, and other inflammatory conditions.
The procedure begins by setting parameters that are safe and effective for your Fitzpatrick skin type. A thin layer of cool gel is applied to the skin to keep the skin cool and to act as a conductor for the light energy. Next, we hold the crystal portion of the handheld device to the surface of the skin. The device then emits intense pulses of visible light onto the targeted area. The light is absorbed by the two targets: melanin (brown spots) and hemoglobin (blood cells in the visible capillaries). This light energy then turns into heat energy, which breaks down the pigment or damages the walls of the tiny blood vessels. These targets will then become absorbed by the body, or pull up to the surface and slough away during the healing process. The healing process usually take about 5-7 days.
Once fully healed from the treatment, the results reveal a much clearer complexion with less damaged pigmented cells and vascularity. This procedure is best done in a series with treatments spread about 4 weeks apart. It is also important to reduce sun exposure prior to and after your IPL treatments, so treatments during the summer months are not ideal. The downtime for this procedure is very minimal, which makes it easy to fit into your social calendar. Some slight erythema, or swelling, is common immediately post procedure and it will feel similar to a slight sunburn. Any pigmentation that is targeted may get darker at first, then become dry and flaky before it sloughs away naturally. The light therapy can help to boost collagen over time, although that is not its primary function.
IPL has been used in the Aesthetic world for years and still remains one of the most popular and effective treatments to treat signs of photoaging and maintain a clear, youthful complexion.
Exfoliation treatments such as: hydrafacials, dermaplanes, chemical peels, micro-needling, and resurfacing laser technologies are all wonderful tools to help reverse signs of aging skin. These are all different modalities that can help produce collagen and elastin fibers, improve overall texture and tone of the skin, and also help diminish fine lines and wrinkles. These services can range from more superficial maintenance-type procedures to more invasive procedures that will require a bit more social downtime. Because there are so many variables and options with these, I’d like to go into more detail with these in the future. Be on the look out!
When addressing more severe wrinkling, or the superficial lines we see when our facial muscles are at rest, we will need to be a bit more aggressive with our approach. Topicals and lasers will not address the lines at rest, nor add volume to the areas that have become saggy and droopy. That is where your neurotoxins and fillers come in. I would definitely love to do a more in depth blog on this topic because I do feel that many people are wary about jumping into injectables. There is a lot of misconception surrounding injectables and I think that it creates a lot of fear. When injectables are done tastefully, you will not “look crazy” or “look done”.
But, I want to go ahead and give a brief overview of what these products can do for addressing signs of aging. Neurotoxins, like Dysport and Botox, act essentially as a muscle relaxer. When injected into the facial muscle, it stops the muscle from contracting so hard and producing those lines on the surface. Over time, this will allow the skin on the surface to become smooth and tight. Filler is another injectable that is often used to rejuvenate and restore the face. It is a gel-like substance that is injected under the skin in a specific way to add back youthful volume. Along with correcting areas of deficits, it can also be used to enhance facial features, such as adding volume and definition to the lips or contouring to the cheeks. This can all be done in a very natural and classy way so that your results are virtually undetectable. The goal is to make you look like you, just refreshed!
HOPEFULLY THIS HAS SHED A LITTLE LIGHT ON AGING SKIN AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO ADDRESS IT.
IF YOU STILL FEEL OVERWHELMED AND DON’T KNOW WHERE TO BEGIN, COME IN FOR A CONSULTATION!
WE WOULD BE HAPPY TO MEET WITH YOU TO DEVISE A PLAN THAT WILL HELP GET YOU LOOKING AND FEELING YOUR BEST.