Aging affects the entire body, including the skin. When an individual ages, their skin may develop age spots and/or wrinkles. There are two different types of skin aging: intrinsic and extrinsic.
What causes Skin Aging?
Intrinsic aging occurs as a result of natural factors that usually begin when an individual is in their mid 20s. During this time, collagen and elastin production slow beneath the skin. These changes may cause fine lines, wrinkles, thinning of the skin, gray or white hair, hair loss, excessive body hair, and other skin imperfections. The exact onset of visible signs associated with intrinsic aging varies from person to person depending on underlying medical conditions and hereditary factors.
Extrinsic aging occurs as a result of external factors, such as:
- Sun exposure – without adequate protection, several minutes of daily sun exposure are enough to cause visible effects to the skin. Skin cancer, actinic keratoses, spider veins, wrinkles and freckles can occur as a result of sun exposure over time.
- Smoking – studies show that individuals who smoke cigarettes daily over the course of a decade are at a heightened risk of developing wrinkled, yellowish, leathery skin. These unwanted changes are the result of biochemical changes associated with cigarette smoking that speed up the signs of aging.
- Gravity – gravity constantly pulls on the skin and especially affects individuals in their 50s. These effects may present themselves as sagging eyelids, enlarged ears, drooping of the nasal tip, and jowls.
- Sleeping position – Believe it or not, sleeping with the same side of the face on the pillow causes sleep lines to develop. These sleep lines can eventually turn into permanent wrinkles.
Common Signs of Aging
The most common signs of aging are photodamage, age spots, hand veins, wrinkles around the eyes, and wrinkles around the mouth. Read below to learn more.
Photodamage occurs after years of sun exposure. It may cause discoloration, enlarged blood vessels and/or pores, coarse skin, freckles, or spider veins. It is a common misconception that photodamage only affects individuals that consistently use tanning beds or go to the beach. On the contrary, photodamage can occur as a result of incidental exposure, from activities such as driving in a car or attending an outdoor sporting event. Non ablative lasers are typically used to treat photodamage, restoring skin to a more youthful state.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 90 percent of discolorations, fine lines and wrinkles occur as a result of sun exposure. Also known as liver spots or sunspots, age spots appear on the backs of the hands and other areas of the skin that are commonly exposed to the sun. Laser treatment or photorejuvenation may be used to treat age spots.
As people age, their hands lose fat tissue and their skin starts thinning. This causes veins to appear more prominently on the hands. Sclerotherapy, lasers, or injectable fillers may be used to treat hand veins.
Wrinkles Around the Eyes
Smiling, frowning and other facial expressions are part of daily life. Each time a facial expression is made, grooves form under the skin. As skin ages, it loses its elasticity, leaving permanent wrinkles around the eyes. These wrinkles may include crow’s feet, which extend from the outer corners of the eyes, or glabellar lines, which are vertical lines between the eyebrows. Laser treatments can be used to reduce crow’s feet, while Botox injections can be administered to reduce glabellar lines.
Wrinkles Around the Mouth
Aging leads to the formation of wrinkles and fine lines around a person’s mouth. Smokers are especially susceptible to developing wrinkles around the mouth, as the chemicals from cigarette smoke and the puckering motion associated with smoking speed up the aging process. Injectable fillers are typically used to treat wrinkles around the mouth; their results last anywhere between 3 months and 2 years.
Regardless of their cause, treatments are available to minimize the appearance of wrinkles and other signs of aging.
Botox or injectable fillers can reduce wrinkles in a minimally-invasive manner, with no downtime required. Their results can last anywhere between 3 months and 2 years.
Lasers may also be used to treat aging skin; commonly used lasers include CO2 resurfacing. The CO2 laser uses ultrapulsed light beams that remove thinning sections of skin with minimal disruptions to surrounding tissue. As the skin heals following laser treatment, natural collagen production is boosted beneath the skin, providing patients with rejuvenated, youthful-looking skin.
Our dermatologists will develop a customized treatment plan based on your specific concerns and medical history. Please call to schedule a consultation with one of our cosmetic dermatologist to seek appropriate treatment for your aging skin.
In order to minimize the effects of aging on their skin, you need to start early. Below are a few tips on how to prevent or minimize the effects of skin aging.
Life-style adjustments such as:
- Drinking ample amounts of water (at least 10 to 12 glasses of pure filtered water a day). The body is composed of 70% water. Well hydrated skin is healthy and young looking.
- Staying out of the sun and heat (taking only warm showers and staying away from prolonged sauna exposure), and using sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful rays of the sun.
- Following an anti-aging Diet rich in fruits and green leafy vegetables that are full of natural antioxidants.
Home care. Home skin care is very important. This should include anti-aging products such as
- The earlier you start on a good antioxidant product, the fewer free radicals will accumulate. Vitamin C, vitamin E, ferulic acid, ginger root and green tea extract are all powerful antioxidants.
- Anti-wrinkle agents.
- Peptides help increase collagen, aid in cellular repair, and improve hydration. Vitamin A (retinol) speeds up cellular turn-over, which improves texture and fine lines.
- Vitamin A is also an essential co-factor of collagen synthesis. Low-level light therapy is a gentle modality that has significant anti-aging and healing benefits.
- Lightening agents.
- Hydroquinone, vitamin C, kojic acid and malic acid are some of the ingredients which can lighten areas of hyperpigmentation.
- Lasers and chemical peels can be used to diminish brown discoloration from sun exposure.
Many Medical treatment options exist for minimizing and reversing the effects of aging on their skin such as
- Neurotoxins (e.g. Botox, or Dysport) interfere with the ability of nerves to communicate with muscles, thus decreasing muscle movement. When used in areas such as the forehead, glabella (in between the eyebrows) and around the eyes, they can temporarily minimize the appearance of existing lines and can permanently stop new lines from forming.
- Fillers, of which there are many choices, are used to correct areas of volume deficit that happen as fat pads and bone volume decrease. Fillers can even be injected into the nose to correct the drooping that occurs with aging.
- LED Phototherapy: Multiple sessions utilizing both blue and red light waves improve circulation, heal damaged cells and increase elastin and collagen.
- Medical cosmetic treatments for increasing collagen, such as Microneedling, laser resurfacing and ultrasound-based devices. As we age, it becomes harder to stimulate collagen production, so we encourage you to do these procedures while you are in your 30s or 40s in order to “invest in their collagen bank” before it’s too late.
- Chemical peels
- Bioidentical hormone therapy – early hormone replacement therapy with estrogen and possibly testosterone can delay many of the signs of aging on skin.
Certain aspects of how humans age cannot be altered or changed, however, many can. Therefore, the earlier you begin maintaining the health and wellness of their skin and on the treatments available to help delay the aging process, the longer you will look young.
To learn more about skin aging and how to prevent premature aging, contact our offices today.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT;
ADVANCED SKIN CLINIC
Ground Floor, Susie House, Plot 1001 Ggaba Road, Nsambya Central, Kampala. P.O Box 612, Kampala.
Tel: 0755-562430 (Office Line) or 0778-389002