The primary causes of aging skin are the natural decreasing elasticity of the skin with increasing age, and sun exposure. As we age, not only is there less production of collagen and elastic tissue but the quality of the tissue is less then optimal. The harmful ultraviolet radiation in sun exposure destroys normal elastic tissue and renders it useless. The result is saggy, thin leathery skin tissue clinically seen as wrinkles. Sun exposure also leads to dyschromia consisting of ruddy red and brown discoloration of the face and neck. Sun spots (lentigos) are also formed and may be perceived as freckles on any part of the skin, most often the face, chest, shoulders, back, arms and back of hands. The most concerning effect of chronic sun exposure is the formation of skin cancer.

Sun protection

The baseline treatment for prevention of aging / wrinkles / photodamage is the use of sun-protective clothing and sunscreen. Suitable sunscreen should be applied in generous amounts several times a day to the face and exposed body. An SPF of 15 or higher should be used on the face and 30 or more to the body. Persons should avoid the sun during the times of 10am – 3pm (peak intensity).

Retinoids, antioxidants, alphahydroxy acids (AHA)…

The use of a retinoid, antioxidants and AHA have been scientifically shown to prevent or reverse the signs of aging. It can be overwhelming trying to sort and chose which ingredients and brands are ideal for your skin. Once you make the investment on a product, you need to make commitment to daily use. Ingredients to look for, retinoids, Vitamin C or E, idebenone, growth factors…..hydroquinone (bleaching ingredient)

Laser treatments may also lessen the effects of aging and reduce fine lines / wrinkles. Such laser treatments include flash-lamp pulsed-dye or intense pulsed light systems for the dyschromia on the face / neck, infrared laser systems to tighten the skin and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and resurfacing lasers (CO2, Er:YAG lasers) to target wrinkles and stimulate new collagen and skin regrowth. The non-ablative lasers (do not peel off the skin) have variable results while the ablative lasers (peel off the top layer of skin) are the gold standard for all types of wrinkles but have significant downtime. Newer laser treatments include the use of fractional resurfacing laser technology which combine excellent efficacy with minimal downtime, you have the benefits of a CO2 laser treatment with approximately 1 week of downtime (redness, scabbing, crusting).

Chemical peels and Microdermabrasion have also been used to treat wrinkles and photoaging with great success. In regards to treating wrinkles specifically, BOTOX® and Restylane®, Juvederm®, Radiesse®, (and similar collagen treatments) are very widely used in both treatment and prevention of wrinkles in a variety of locations.

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