Great Skin Starts Today
Dealing with aging skin and reversing time can seem like an uphill battle for many. Wrinkles and sagging skin make skin changes among the most visible signs of aging. Over the course of our lives, our skin is at the mercy of many different forces within the world and it takes an active approach to reduce the signs of aging and prevent any further damage.
Signs of Aging Skin
How your skin looks can depend on a variety of factors. Lifestyle choices, diet, genetics and other personal habits can have a profound effect on your skin. Smoking can produce harmful free radicals, leading to damaged cells and, among other things, can result to premature wrinkles. As the once-healthy oxygen molecules in your skin begin to be attacked by the free radicals, you slowly begin to lose the supple and fresh appearance you had before.
Aging skin can also be promoted by chronic UV light exposure.
With aging, the epidermis, or outer layer of skin, slowly begins to thin even though the number of cell layers stays the same. The number of pigment-containing cells decrease and those that remain increase in size. Aging skin can appear thinner, paler and more translucent as these pigment-containing cells decrease and large pigmented spots such as age spots or liver spots may begin to appear in sun-exposed areas.
There may be changes within the connective tissues that reduce the skin’s strength and elasticity known as elastosis. This primarily occurs in sun-exposed areas and can cause the skin to look leathery and weather-beaten.
Oil production also changes as we age. Men tend to experience a minimal decrease in the amount of oil produced by their sebaceous glands, most often after age 80. Women, however, experience less oil production beginning with menopause. With less oil being produced, it can be harder to keep moisture in the skin resulting in dryness and itchiness.
At Southern Dermatology, when we approach creating a skincare routine for aging skin, we focus on four main elements.
1. Protect Your Skin with Sunscreen
Patients should always be using sun protection– no matter the weather. A sunscreen composed of zinc oxide with an SPF of 30-50 is perfect for everyday wear to slow down the breakdown of collagen by the UV rays. The skin-damaging UV rays that can cause aging skin and other concerns are independent of a sunny day. You can be exposed to these rays rain or shine, they’re always present. Even if the sky is overcast you will still be exposed to UV rays. On a cloudy day, only the visible rays from the sun are blocked but UV rays remain.
Zinc oxide works to protect your skin by providing broad-spectrum sun protection that prevents burns. It’s even effective on photo-sensitive skin. While wearing a zinc oxide sunscreen, as long as properly applied, you can be protected from skin cancers such as basal cell carcinoma.
If you’re concerned about the sticky feeling of sunscreen or a tell-tale white cast on your skin, there’s good news. Today, there are a wide variety of products with varying application methods and textures. You can choose from creams, lotions, sprays, sticks, gels or even powders!
2. Add a Growth Factor Cream
We may also prescribe a growth factor cream for both night and day to increase your collagen production. Some favorites at Southern Dermatology are the Neocutis Bio Cream Riche for night and the Journeé Bio-Restorative Balm, also from Neocutis, for day.
The Bio-Restorative Balm is a fast-absorbing skincare balm that delivers a powerful blend of moisturizers to keep your skin hydrated and supple. It also contains Wild Yam extract to help enhance your skin’s natural youthful look and restore radiance. We like the Bio Cream Riche because it helps reduce many of the signs of aging skin while being free of often-irritating color additives and fragrances.
The Journeé Bio-Restorative Balm is a multifunctional cream that can help restore moisture from aging skin and provide a broad-spectrum UVA/UVB SPF 30 sun protection– taking care of both elements one and two. It’s blended with hyaluronic acid and powerful antioxidants to nourish and revitalize aging skin’s appearance.
3. Defend with Antioxidants
Antioxidants can protect your skin by limiting the production of free radicals that can cause damage to delicate skin cells. Adding an antioxidant can do a lot for the health and appearance of your skin and reduce the signs of aging.
The most commonly prescribed antioxidants for aging skin are vitamins C and E.
Vitamin C works to promote collagen production to fill in fine lines and wrinkles. Topical vitamin C also helps to protect your skin from UVA/UVB rays; however, just because Vitamin C helps protect against sun damage doesn’t mean you can skip the sunscreen–vitamin C should be used in conjunction with sun screen for best results.
Vitamin E, also commonly known as tocopherol or tocotrienols, is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps to defend the skin from outside elements like free radicals. Vitamin E is often found in sunscreens because of its supporting role in defending skin against damaging UV rays.
Vitamin C and E work together to create a powerful combination that works wonders for aging skin and as a preventative measure.
4. Use Prescription-Strength Retinoids
The final element we rely on at Southern Dermatology to treat aging skin is the addition of a retinoid.
Retinols and retinoids sound the same but are very different things. Retinols and retinoids vary in chemical structure even though they both are derivatives of Vitamin A. While retinol products can be sold over-the-counter in creams and serums, a retinoid is stronger and can only be prescribed by a doctor.
Retinoids work to stimulate the production of new skin cells and fade dark spots associated with photo-aging and other hyperpigmentation issues. Prescription-strength retinoids can renew the skin, reduce fine lines and help with skin discoloration to reduce signs of aging skin.
When using a retinoid, you need to baby your skin. Retinoids can be tough on your skin– especially if you’re already prone to dryness. And, if you’re still not convinced you need to be wearing sunscreen every day, retinoids can cause photo-sensitivity and must be worn with a daily sunscreen.
Why wait to do something for yourself?
Reveal your best skin at any age, start the conversation with one of our experienced skincare professionals today. Call us at 919-863-0073 to set up your appointment.