What are the actual signs of premature aging, and what’s just “normal”?
Normal aging occurs in every living being. If you are alive, you are aging! Around age 25, we start losing about 1% of collagen per year, which translates to saggier skin and wrinkles. We also lose bone and facial fat as we age, which translates to less support structure under the skin. If you have a table with a tablecloth that fits perfectly, and you swap out that table for a smaller one, the tablecloth is now going to have folds in it. A similar thing happens in the face, and as gravity pulls the skin down and forward, we get marionette lines, jowling, and more prominent nasolabial folds. This process happens at a different age for everyone, but generally speaking, we start seeing more of those changes around 40 when our hormones start to change, and even more changes over 50 years of age, post menopause. Of course, we can delay some of these changes by getting in-office procedures and following a good skincare routine at home.
Premature aging primarily occurs from UV damage and oxidative stress/free radicals from the environment, such as from pollution. When you have repeated sun exposure, especially with multiple blistering sunburns, or a history using tanning beds, the aging will happen sooner. You can see this when you compare the skin on an area that has not seen as much sun, such as the buttocks, with an area that has gotten a lot of sun, such as the chest or arms. Stress, illness, hormonal changes, medications, radiation, and nutritional deficiencies can also cause premature aging. The skin is less elastic (does not have the same “snap back” that it once had) and it might look mottled, wrinkly, crepey, and saggy. In someone with a history of excessive UV exposure, these changes can start occuring in your 30s or even 20s!
What products are best for skin aging?
Use a cleanser with a gentle exfoliating acid such as lactic or glycolic acid to brighten the skin. Use a hydrating serum containing hyaluronic acid to drive water into the skin. Follow with a moisturizer to lock in the hydration and protect the skin barrier. Ideally, the moisturizer will contain antioxidants (niacinamide, vitamin C, vitamin E, marine algae, etc.) to scavenge free radicals and protect against oxidative damage. Finish with SPF containing zinc oxide. At Element Medical Aesthetics, we love Pavise Dynamic Age Defense SPF, which uses patented technology to reverse signs of aging while also protecting the skin. Consider using Plated Intense, a serum containing exosomes and antioxidants to optimize skin health and diminish the appearance of wrinkles, brown spots, redness, and dullness. At night, swap the antioxidant for a product with peptides, growth factors, or retinol to promote collagen production.
What in-office treatments can help with aging skin?
Peels and lasers can help with discoloration and mottled skin. Wrinkles and crepiness can be addressed by lasers such as Lutronic Ultra, which uses heat to create microcolumns in the skin, thereby resurfacing the skin to improve tone and texture. The Ultra treats sun damage, brown spots, crepey texture, and fine lines. The Lutronic Genius is a radiofrequency microneedling device that can be used to address sagging skin, wrinkles, and scars. Sculptra is a biostimulator that addresses both volume loss and collagen loss. It is the “Benjamin Button” of treatments that will have you aging backwards. It takes 4-6 months to see results, so it is a very slow and natural progression of volume correction. Neuromodulators such as Botox, Dysport, Jeuveau, Xeomin, and Daxxify can be used to relax muscles to stop repetitive muscle movements that etch lines into the skin at rest. Common areas include the forehead, 11 lines, and crows feet, but we can also use it on the neck, chin, and jawline. Dermal fillers restore volume loss and improve the appearance of deep folds. Schedule a consult with us at Element to figure out what is right for you!