I see the process of aging every day in my line of work. I certainly also hear the complaints about the effects of this process on the face in particular.
As we mature from our teenage years to senior status, our faces tend to let us know. Luckily, for those of us now living in the 21st century, there is a growing menu of anti-aging skin care products and procedures that can slow and even reverse some of the effects of what my wife calls the “age disease”.
Over 20 years ago, cosmetic or plastic surgery was the only option for those who wanted to look rejuvenated and more youthful. In the past, many avoided plastic surgery due to its notoriety in terms of expense, downtime and risks of surgical approaches.
Since I first became involved with medical aesthetics in 2003, many non-surgical and minimally invasive options have been developed. Without exception, they are more cost effective and involve decreased to no downtime than surgical alternatives, and still produce beautiful results.
The following is not meant to depress you but rather to help you understand what is going in your body and specifically your skin. With an understanding of the medical and scientific reasons, you can understand better the methods of prevention and restoration that can be employed.
In your 20s, the skin cells are generally very healthy, but skin care is still very important. Proper skin care early on in life can reduce the damage you will have to deal with later.
Much has been written in popular magazines about preventive skin care management. The biggest issues to keep skin health in your 20s will be regular exfoliation to remove dead skin cells and moisturizing to keep skin looking smooth and healthy.
Skin protection is also paramount in this young age group. A tan may look good when you are in your 20s, but the damage from ultraviolet rays will stay with you for life.
In your 30s, the aging process starts to accumulate its effects on your skin. The sun exposure of over 30 years of life results in so-called age spots starting to appear, which are clumps of pigmented skin cells that develop in areas of maximum exposure.
Due to the effects of sun, smoking, diet, and hydration, the collagen production in the dermis below the superficial skin starts to slow down. Fine lines and wrinkles can start to appear due to these multiple factors.
In your 40s, on top of everything else you have to deal with the universal force of gravity taking over, as Isaac Newton described in 1687. More and deeper lines appear on the face as a direct result of decreases in underlying collagen, loss of skin elasticity, and loss of fat.
Because skin cell turnover greatly decreases when one is in their 40s, skin tends to get thinner and more dry. Consequently, this effect makes skin appear dull and crepey.
In your 50s, women are hit the hardest from the reduction of estrogen and the onset of menopause, which has multiple skin effects. The epidermis or top layer of skin continues to become thin and less likely to retain moisture.
Circulation to a woman’s skin at this age is variable with generally decreased nutrition to the skin while also having periods of drastically increased circulation through dilation of blood vessels, resulting in the dreaded hot flashes. Collagen and elastin production and repair continues to slow down, and fat underneath the skin also decreases. My wife says this is the decade when you know that God is a male and has a lousy sense of humor!
I know that I have painted a pretty lousy portrait of the facial aging process. Fortunately, hope is not lost.
Modern medical aesthetics cannot make a person in their 50s and beyond look like he or she is 18 again. However, consistent and judicious use of anti-aging prevention and procedures can reverse many of the effects of past damage incurred, and turn back the clock on this process.
As I have said many times, we can turn back the clock but we cannot stop the clock. I think that the best compliment for any person at any age is to have someone tell that person that they look refreshed, well-rested, and like they have recently had a great and relaxing vacation.
Obviously, everyone is different in terms of their level of prior skin damage, ongoing skincare and their ultimate goals for their skin and their appearance. When I do an initial consultation at Maine Laser Skin Care, I examine photos of your skin from multiple angles, as well as your history and goals to come up with plan to address your needs and wants at whatever stage of the journey of life that you are on.
If you are interesting in an assessment to address your skin concerns, simply call us at (207) 873-2158 to schedule a free, confidential, and no-obligation consultation.