Your skin, just like every other organ and tissue of the body, goes through certain changes as it ages. Unlike other parts of your body, however, the telltale signs of aging skin are on the outside. Your age is apparent to everyone you meet—they can see it in your skin.
THE SIGNS OF AGING SKIN
We can all recognize the signs of aging skin. The first signs of aging skin are usually fine lines and wrinkles, often around the corners of the eyes and mouth. Deep facial wrinkles soon follow, perhaps as furrows between the nose and the mouth or deep ridges in the forehead. Age spots (“liver” spots) appear as dark blotches against a background of lighter skin. The skin of the face starts to sag, even drape on the face and neck. Over time, the skin becomes noticeable thinner. Blood vessels that were once hidden by thick, lustrous skin are now plain to see as dark purple spider veins or deep blue cords coursing just beneath the surface. Many people feel that the skin on their face doesn’t match their real age, or the age they feel inside. Fortunately, there are many ways to counteract the signs of skin aging and turn back the clock.
THE CAUSES OF PREMATURE SKIN AGING
Several things accelerate the skin’s natural aging process. Skin ages more quickly when a person:
- Is exposed to large amounts of direct sunlight
- Is exposed to environmental toxins
- Is exposed to high winds over long periods
- Does not get proper nutrition
- Does not get proper hydration
- Does not get proper sleep
- Has weakened muscles, particularly in the face
In each of these cases, the greater the exposure to one of these causes, the greater the effect will be. For example, the skin of heavy smokers ages much more quickly than people who do not smoke or rarely smoke. Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun break down many of the substances within the skin that gives skin its youthful appearance and vibrancy. People who tan heavily or frequently have older looking skin than people who mostly stay out of the sun. Fortunately, reducing or eliminating these causes has the opposite effect can slow the aging process.
SLOWING THE SKIN AGING PROCESS
Fortunately, there are many ways to fight back against premature skin aging. There are dozens of reasons to stop smoking, but slowing skin aging is another good one. Modest amounts of sunlight are a great way to get vitamin D, but limit the amount of time you spend in direct sunlight. Use sunscreens that block UVA and UVB rays with and SPF of at least 30. Proper hydration, nutrition, and skin care can go a long way to slowing the skin aging process. A thorough skin cleansing and moisturizing regimen can clear away toxins and retain moisture in the skin. If you live or work in an area with high winds, make sure to protect your skin and stay moisturized and hydrated. Lastly, sleep hygiene is as important as other forms of hygiene.
FIGHTING BACK AGAINST SKIN AGING
Once signs of skin aging begin to appear, slowing the aging process may not be enough. If you are concerned about aging skin, it may be time to speak with a professional about specific treatment options. Dr. Jeannie Khavkin is a fellowship trained facial plastic surgeon who is an expert at fighting back against skin aging. Nuance Aesthetics & Plastic Surgery offers a wide range of surgical and non-surgical treatment options including injectable fillers, laser resurfacing, and facial plastic surgery procedures.