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Skin Aging: Causes, Prevention, Treatment

One of the biggest myths both men and women have been told is that aging is reversible. Aging is an inevitability of life and how people age is mostly based on the genetic makeup of the individual, however sun exposure, alcohol and drug habits and overall personal health choices do come into play.

One of the best ways to make sure your skin stays as healthy and youthful-looking as possible without undergoing a procedure or treatment is by rotating sun protection into your daily routine.  According to the Mayo Clinic, most of the changes seen in aging skin can actually be attributed to a lifetime of sun exposure without proper protection. Application of at least SPF 30 broadband sunscreen for every two hours is the optimal between the hours of 10am and 4pm, the time when the sun’s rays are at their peak. You should be protecting your skin year round. The winter months are just as important of a time to keep a consistent layer of sunscreen on, especially during skiing because of the sun’s reflection off the sun and ice will intensify the rays. There’s no reason to speed up the skin’s aging process when it can easily be avoided by simply applying a tube of sunscreen!

Another tip to help your skin be the best it can be, is to avoid smoking and an overconsumption of alcohol (four drinks per sitting for men, three drinks per sitting for women). In fact, research has shown that smoking alone can age skin because it promotes the breakdown of collagen and reduces the skin’s natural elasticity. Collagen is the protein that structures the skin and gives it youthful definition, without it, wrinkles would develop and the tiny blood vessels in the skin tighten to reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients the skin can receive. To worsen the effect of substances such as cigarettes, drinking alcohol will dehydrate your body and skin, which makes it look old and tired. If you must drink for social reasons, have a non-alcoholic drink such as seltzer or fruit juice in between alcoholic beverages to help keep your body as hydrated as possible.

Lastly, try to keep a regular skin cleaning and moisturizing routine, especially for those who wear makeup during the day. T helps remove the bacteria and let your skin breathe and retain moisture. Using a moisturizer will help the skin stay supple and healthy looking. Make sure to pat your skin dry instead of rub it so some moisture can remain. Moisture is one of the keys to healthy skin and without wrinkles.
Aesthetician services are also available for professional exfoliations and skin maintenance, which are especially helpful for those prone to acne breakouts.

The noticeable signs of aging, such as wrinkles, age spots, and sagging due to a loss of skin elasticity are some of the most common skin developments. By understanding what causes aging skin and why it develops the way it does will help you take preventive measures to keep your skin young and healthy.

Every day the cells of the outer layer of your skin die off, shed, and regenerate new skin layers. However, when you’re young your skin cells turn over quickly. As you age the turnover rate becomes slower and slower and as a result your skin loses its once youthful appearance and begins to look dull and worn out.

The two building blocks that are integral to the skin’s age appearance are collagen and elastin. Collagen is the structure protein within the skin that gives it its youthful cheeks and bright open eyes. . Elastin gives your skin elasticity, plumpness, and resilience; however both also need to be replenished. As your skin ages, the replenishing process slows down and as a result being less elastic, your skin has a harder time bouncing back and will start to show fine lines and wrinkles.

At the same time, exposing your skin to the sun causes an increased amount of pigment to be produced, which leads to age spots over time. Sun damage also breaks up elastic fibers in your skin, leaving your skin less able to bounce back when it wrinkles.

Smoking cigarettes speeds up the aging process of your skin, which can make wrinkles worse. And then there’s the problem of sagging skin. As we get older, we lose volume in our face from muscle and bone loss.

For many people, the signs of aging start showing in their thirties and continue with each decade. Others seem to be born with genes for healthy, young-looking skin. But you can’t rely on genetics alone. If you neglect your skin by developing skin-abusive sun damage and inflict injury from smoking cigarettes, there is a much higher chance your appearance will suffer. Committing to a routine cleansing routine is a big part of keeping your skin looking young. This means cleaning your face twice a day, once in the morning and another at night, especially if you wear makeup or workout. Loss of moisture can make your skin look dull, flat, and older, which is why it’s important to keep it moisturized but not oily. To avoid dry skin, apply moisturizer every day while your skin is still damp after cleansing or bathing.

Reapply sunscreen year round. It’s the single most important step you can take to prevent skin aging. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends daily use a broad-spectrum sunscreen, meaning one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. Use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, even when it’s cloudy and should reapply sunscreen every two hours when outdoors. Your skin is going to age along with the rest of your body, but you can help yourself by implementing certain steps in order to slow the visible effects.

About author - Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar

Dr. Cameron Rokhsar, MD, FAAD, FAACS, is the founder and medical director of the New York Cosmetic, Skin, & Laser Surgery Center. Dr. Rokhsar is a graduate of Harvard College and NYU School of Medicine. Dr. Rokhsar is double board certified in dermatology and micrographic dermatologic surgery, being one of the few select dermatologists in the country who is also fellowship trained in laser surgery. A researcher and innovator, Dr. Rokhsar is the creator of the non-surgical nose job and has been instrumental in the research and development of laser systems such as the Fraxel, CO2, Mirady, Vbeam, Themitight, and Ulthera devices. An Associate Professor of Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in NYC, Dr. Rokhsar actively teaches the cosmetic dermatology clinic to the resident at Mount Sinai. An expert injector of fillers, and a trainer for many companies, patients fly in from around the world to see Dr. Rokhsar in his Garden City and Manhattan offices in New York.

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