Healthy Skin – Stop The Wrinkles
As we grow older our skin begins to lose its suppleness and go through many changes. Even in healthy skin the aging process will reveal wrinkles, sagging and thinning skin. Some people may also suffer from dry patchy areas, broken blood vessels and/or age spots
Skin conditions such as skin cancers are also more prevalent in the elderly with exposure to the sun being the most common cause.
Although we cannot turn back the clock or stop the telltale signs of aging in our skin we can minimize the effects, and the best way to do this is with good, healthy lifestyle choices and a proven skin care regime.
Some people may go the surgical route but this is not always the best choice. All surgical treatments are not without risk or side effects, so before you decide on surgical intervention make sure you talk with a plastic surgeon or dermatologist first and have realistic expectations about the outcome.
Healthy Skin Explained
Your skin is made up of three layers; the top layer is called the epidermis which contains pigment cells called melanocytes, these cells are responsible for giving skin its color. The epidermis is in a state of constant renewal with mature cells gradually rising to the surface of the skin where they will be shed and replaced with cells from the lower epidermal cell layer.
The second layer is called the dermis which is made up of elastic fibers (elastin) which provide suppleness for the skin, and dense fibers (collagen) for strength. The dermis contains sweat glands, oil glands, nerves, blood and lymph vessels and hair follicles which extend from the epidermis to the dermis.
The deepest layer, often referred to as the hypodermis is constructed of layers of fat and connective tissue and gives the skin structure.
Your Aging Skin
Aging signs in healthy skin may include:
- Thinning of the skin – the rate of cell production in the epidermis slows down and the skin becomes thinner. This may lead to things like wrinkles or crepe paper skin (crinkled texture skin)
- Sagging of the skin – As the skin ages the production of collagen and elastin slows down, combined with gravity this can cause skin to sag or droop. We see this commonly with bags under the eyes and jowls along the jaw line
- Wrinkles – With the mixture of thinning skin and lower levels of collagen and elastin our skin may start to wrinkle in high use areas such as around the mouth and eyes
- Age spots – with age there is an increase in numbers of the melanocytes (pigment cells) and they tend to cluster together in certain areas. This forms what we commonly refer to as liver or age spots. These spots commonly form in areas with prolonged exposure to the sun like the back of the hands
- Dry skin – in older skin the number of sweat glands and oil glands decreases which can lead to conditions such as dry, rough and itchy skin
- Broken blood vessels – older thinner skin is more prone to bruising and permanently widened or broken blood vessels
Age-related skin conditions
As we get older we are at higher risk of contracting certain skin conditions which may include:
- Seborrhoeic keratosis – is a benign skin tumor which has the appearance of a brown wart.
- Actinic keratosis (also known as solar keratoses) – these are scaly, dry and inflamed spots on the skin usually found on the bridge of the nose, cheeks, backs of hands and scalp. These areas may develop into skin cancer (squamous cell) so professional medical assessment is essential
- Bowen’s disease – is a scaly, slow growing patch of skin thought to be caused by exposure to the sun
- Skin cancer – including squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma and melanoma
How To Reduce The Signs Of Aging Skin
The best ways to reduce the signs of aging may include:
- When going outdoors you should Slip Slop Slap – Slip on a shirt – Slop on SPF30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen – Slap on a hat.
- Always wear loose fitting clothes and avoid sunbathing
- NEVER, and I mean NEVER go into an artificial tanning booth
- Don’t smoke – it promotes wrinkles and may accelerate sun exposure damage
- Moisturize – Dry skin will show more lines and wrinkles
Dry skin due to age may become worse by:
- Using perfumed soaps
- Swimming in chlorinated water
- Taking long, hot showers
Use gentle cleansers for your skin such as body washes, soaps and shampoos that have a neutral PH-balance (not too alkaline or acidic)
It is imperative that you fully understand the risks vs benefits of any anti-aging treatment before you try it. Including:
- Topical treatments (creams and lotions) – prescription creams such as tretinoin have been proven to reduce fine lines and some skin discoloration if used regularly, and for uneven skin pigmentation any cosmetic cream containing niacinamide will be of great benefit (Also known as vitamin B3 and nicotinic acid)
- Injections – synthetic collagen or body fat from another area can be injected (piped along the wrinkle) smoothing out the skin
- Facial peels – When applied to the face these chemicals will burn off the top layer of skin removing wrinkles and age spots. They will also promote the regrowth of newer, younger looking skin
- Botox – Botox (botulinum toxin) is injected into the wrinkle prone areas such as around the eyes. This toxin paralyzes the muscles preventing facial movement in that area, which in turn prevents wrinkles forming. (Botox is a temporary solution and must be repeated every two or three months)
- Vascular laser treatment – is used to get rid of broken blood vessels in the skin
- Laser resurfacing – is good for removing age spots, scars, wrinkles and skin growths
- Before considering any surgical intervention talk to your plastic surgeon and make sure you fully understand the risks and the potential outcome.
Many creams and lotions can reduce fine lines and keep our skin moist but we cannot turn back the clock, heck we can’t even slow the clock down. So before you go out and buy some expensive cream or lotion that you will probably have to use for the rest of your life, have a chat to your doctor or dermatologist. Professional advice is always the best route; they may have a much better and cheaper alternative therapy.