As we age, our skin undergoes a number of changes. Some of these changes can give a positive effect – for example, the reduction of oil production results in less shiny skin and any lingering adult acne almost always disappears. Most of these changes, however, are generally seen as undesirable, and thus most people seek to reduce the signs of aging on their skin by prevention or medical treatment. This article will discuss the two different types of aging, known as intrinsic and extrinsic, and the preventative measures that can be taken to slow the process, as well as the treatments that can be used to diminish the signs of aging skin.
Intrinsic aging refers to the natural aging process that occurs in our body. It begins in the mid-20s, but the physical signs are not usually seen for many years or even decades. In our 20s, collagen production beings to slow, and elastin (the substance that gives our skin elasticity) loses some of its spring. Additionally, new skin cells do not reproduce as quickly and dead skin cells will not shed as easily as before. These changes in our body will result in a visible effect many years later in the following ways:
- Fine wrinkles
- Loss of firmness and hollowing of cheeks and eye sockets as fat beneath the skin decreases
- Thinner, more transparent skin
- Skin becomes more sensitive to heat and cold
- Dry, itchy skin
- Loss of ability to sweat efficiently
- Sagging skin
- Gray hairs and loss of hair
- Changes in nail plate, resulting in loss of half moon shape and development of ridges
- Skin wounds do not heal as quickly
Extrinsic aging, the external factors that influence how we age, work with intrinsic factors to speed up the signs of aging on our skin. The primary extrinsic cause of premature aging is exposure to the sun. Other factors include gravity, smoking, sleeping position, and repetitive facial expressions. Photoaging is the term that is used to describe aging that occurs as a result of sun exposure. People with light skin and those who live in sun-intense areas are more likely to develop higher levels of photoaging. Sun exposure is seen on our skin through the appearance of freckles, spider veins, age spots, leathery skin, blotchy skin, and fine wrinkles. Repetitive facial movements and certain sleeping positions will result in fine wrinkles that may eventually become permanently etched on the skin’s surface. The effects of gravity lead to skin with a droopy appearance, especially as our skin’s elasticity decreases. Studies have reported that smoking cigarettes causes accelerated aging in the human body. Wrinkled, leathery, and yellowish skin is associated with long periods of heavy smoking.
While some aging factors are within our control, such as abstaining from smoking and avoiding exposure to the sun, we cannot do anything to stop the aging process. As such, many medical treatments have been developed to help reduce the signs of aging on our skin. At first, certain creams and topical medicines may be effective, but they will not have a drastic effect on our skin in the long term. Dr. Ostad offers several medical treatments to help restore a youthful appearance to aged skin. A popular approach that gives fast results with little downtime is the use of Botox and injectable fillers. These fillers are injected beneath the skin’s surface and act rapidly to erase signs of aging such as wrinkles or drooping.
High End Rejuvenation and Vascular laser treatments have been developed, such as Fraxel Restore, Fraxel Dual, Fraxel Repair, Gemini and Sciton lasers which help improve fine lines and wrinkles, spider veins, and age spots from the skin’s surface. Laser treatments stimulate the production of new collagen, thus giving the skin an overall healthier, more youthful look by triggering the body’s own natural process. Similar, Ultherapy utilizes ultrasound technology to firm and tighten the skin to give it a younger appearance. There are many different treatments Dr. Ostad can offer you to customize and optimize your results.
The aging process is a natural part of life, but its effects can be improved through new technologies. Make an appointment with Dr. Ostad today to learn more about the exciting treatments available that can restore a youthful appearance to your skin.