That skin reveals our age is only too obvious. Compare the skin of a newborn to an elder and the differences are clear. Young skin is taut yet supple, without lines, visible pores, or blotchy pigmentation. Older skin is loose, shows fine and deep lines, larger pores and occasionally uneven pigment. There are intrinsic causes of aging that cannot be avoided but may be affected by general health, nutrition, and exercise. Extrinsic causes of aging are predominantly sun and cigarette smoking. For proof of this, examine the deep facial lines that characterize most smokers and compare the sun-protected skin of your buttocks to your face and arms. Clearly, extrinsic forces contribute significantly to the appearance of aging.
Can anything be done to slow or reverse the signs of aging? The answer must be yes – otherwise the multibillion-dollar beauty and antiaging industries would not exist. The problem is to sort the hype, the fact, and the fallacy.
One way to look at aging is to consider it in three subsets – gravity, lines of expression, and skin texture.
“Gravity” describes the gradual descent of the face into folds around the eyes, jaws, and neck. This is not just drooping of the skin. It is also the gradual loss of subcutaneous fat volume. Judicious use of cosmetic techniques such as face-lift, S-lift, and use of fillers can ameliorate the effects of gravity and volume loss.
Finally, the texture of skin suffers with time. To prevent this, early and consistent use of sunscreen is key. To reverse texture changes there are a host of potions which promise miracles. The only products held to scientific scrutiny are topical drugs, the retinoids, whose trade names are Retin-A or Renova, and Avage. While difficult to use, they can be very helpful in correcting the skin texture. Perhaps less effective, but more tolerable, are the cosmeceuticals, such as retinols, glycolic acids, Kinerase, and others. A buzz word in aging is “antioxidants” and, naturally, there are a plethora of those products, such as Vitamins E and C, polyphenols, green tea extracts, and idebenone. They are generally easy to use and may be helpful over the long term.
Procedures such as microdermabrasion, diamond peel, and light chemical peels may benefit skin tone. Finally, Cosmetic Laser Procedures, available at our Center, may dramatically enhance the skin’s appearance.