Monday, March 15th, 2021
Over the years, we have come to understand aging of the skin and how we can interact with this process to lead us to beautiful skin for much longer. Not long ago, we had only two options: age naturally or undergo plastic surgery to tighten weak, sagging tissue. The development of scientific based skin care, laser treatments, injectables, and even some plastic surgery procedures is still relatively recent. These techniques and technologies have become common and could only be created from a place of knowledge. Sure, skin aging is, to some extent, related to simple biology. However, from the study of twins with different lifestyles or different treatments, we have learned there are other factors involved. The more we understand them, the better we get at maintaining beauty at every age.
Hereditary factors are outside of our control. When we look at how our parents, siblings, and grandparents have aged, we get a good idea of how our process may go. Beyond that, though, we can alter our course by developing good habits and, when necessary, getting professional help.
It has become apparent from research that the sun ages the skin. As we have learned about the sun’s effect on the skin, we have also learned about the sun. The part of the sun responsible for the damage and aging is UVA, which is present all day, all year, and at every latitude. SPF does not let us know about protection from sun aging, only UVB and sun burn. We, therefore, need to apply a zinc oxide sunblock every day and reapply it if we wash or rub it off. Other sunscreens need to be applied every hour if outside or every 2 hours if indoors. It’s impossible to stay out of the sun. Even if we could, it would not be good for our health. The body needs a small dose of sunshine each day to produce vitamin D, which is essential for good immunity and bone strength. We also need it for proper sleep. Fortunately, we can get all we need even wearing sunblock.
We know that what we eat will affect our weight and our long-term health. We may minimize salt consumption to reduce our risk of heart disease. We may limit our sugar intake so we don’t gain too much weight. These habits are also good for the skin. Sugar and salt contribute to puffiness and inflammation that can cause skin sensitivities and premature aging. Skin-supporting foods include fresh fruits, leafy greens, lean protein, and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil, things good for you in general.
Smoking, tobacco use, or vaping inhibits the oxygenation of tissues, including the lungs, other vital organs, and the skin. It does this by causing blood vessels to narrow. This reduces the production of collagen and elastin that firm and smooth the skin. It also reduces the repair system. Essentially smoking overwhelms the body’s regenerative processes and speeds aging.
Most people do skin care based on what their mother or a friend told them, what they have read, or what some company making skin care products have told them. One of the major changes over the last few decades is a scientific understanding of what proper skin care is and how to improve our skin. We don’t need most of what we are told we do. We need a cleanser, a pH balancer, an exfoliant and a sunblock as the basics. Moisturizers are, in fact, the worst thing we have ever done to our skin. Once we get to 25-30 we also need a retinol or tretinoin (Retin-A) and Obagi’s ELASTIderm to stimulate production of collagen and elastin respectively, as the body stops producing them naturally at about that age. If you have severe damage, we also now have treatment options based on science, though even some physicians are still peddling quackery.
What you do daily will affect your skin’s aging process. However, you don’t have to tackle aging on your own. In our Highlands, NC office, we offer a full complement of skin care and rejuvenation services as well as non-surgical treatments like Botox, fillers, and micro peels, which we include in our arsenal of skin care services. See how we can address your aging skin. Call (828) 526-3783 to schedule a visit with us.