You probably didn’t care that much about your skin when you were young. Sunburn didn’t matter much to you and it didn’t have much of an impact on your skin too. But as you get older skin undergoes a lot of changes. Your flawless, baby-smooth skin is transformed by the arrival of acne during your adolescent years.
Whatever you do to your skin leaves some lasting impression on it, but what happens naturally is the internal aging process. Dryness, thinning, wrinkles, and sagging are all part of this process. Skin doesn’t replace itself very quickly as it ages. The proteins that keep your skin elastic and strong – collagen and elasten – are more slowly produced. And these changes will happen for sure. But depending on your genes the visible signs of ageing might start early or late. Your skin might get saggy in your 30s if your mother’s face also started sagging at this age. This is something you have no control.
But you can control external aging. Your skin ages fast if there is too much sun exposure. It can lead to age spots, wrinkles and a leathery look. Repetitive facial expressions, your diet and smoking, all play a major role. If you furrow your brow a lot, you’ll probably get wrinkles on your forehead.
Skin care regimen basics
To take care of your skin you need not spend a lot of money and a dozen products. All you really need is a sunscreen, a moisturizer and a cleanser.
When it comes to skin care regimen, it involves not just your face but your entire body. The skin on your face is very different from the rest of your body. You may have oily skin on your face, but your legs and arms will be extremely dry. So, one single product may not work for your entire body.
Older people have more delicate and thinner skin on their hands and face. On these areas you need to use a non-soap cleanser. Soaps leave skin dry and tight by stripping away its natural oil as it sometimes contain harsh detergents.
Many people think that they don’t need to use a moisturizer because they have oily skin, but you need to restore whatever moisture has been removed through washing or external aging factors like the sun. If you have oily skin, look for a light, oil-free moisturizing lotion. People with dry skin need heavier creams. There are also heavy creams for areas of the body that are especially prone to dryness and flaking, such as the elbows, knees and heels. The skin is thicker in these places and is exposed to a lot of stress.
No matter what your plans sunscreen should be applied daily. You should apply sunscreen on your hands and arms and not only on your face, neck and ears. Your hands are often exposed to water and soap. Hence it could become dry and start to show signs of aging faster than your face. Apply sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 on your face, hands and neck. Go with a higher number if you are going to be out in the sun for longer duration. Moisturizers with added sunscreen are available so you can find one.
A plan for healthy skin
Try to avoid sun’s ultraviolet radiation to keep your skin healthy. You can easily get sunburn in the winter and not necessarily while doing outdoor sports and swimming. By wearing cover-ups and hats when outside for long periods of time you can minimize sun damage, called photoaging, which can lead to skin cancer.
To reduce dryness and even the risk of cancer you should put down your cigarette along with avoiding the sun.
While smoking is, of course, bad for your skin, even the act of smoking that involve repetitive facial expressions — squinting and pinching your lips while smoking — cause wrinkles. In addition, the elastin and collagen in your skin is also damaged by nicotine as it reduces the blood flow in the vessels near its surface.
You also should get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep at night. If you suffer from sleep deprivation it shows on your face easily. You can end up with under-eye circles apart from looking tired. The pillow puts wrinkles on your face so it is better to sleep on your back.
Your skin will feel and look good if you follow a healthy diet. To improve blood circulation stay hydrated. Include lots of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
There’s no way to stop skin’s aging process entirely even if you follow a skin care regimen. You’re going to get some wrinkles, no matter what. You need to neutralize free radicals to counteract wrinkles and antioxidants help. Look for creams that contain hydroxy acids, retinol and kenetin.
A dermatologist will be able to give the right guidance regarding the treatment. They will prescribe creams with a stronger vitamin A compound which will help lighten age spots.
Skin Treatments for Aging
To remove damaged layers of skin and expose smoother skin, dermatologists may recommend various treatments like:
To improve uneven texture and skin tone and smooth out wrinkles chemical peels are effective. Using hydroxy acids a light chemical peel is done, and by using phenol, a toxic acid, deep peels are done. The results can last for many years.
To treat acne scars, wrinkles and age spots laser resurfacing is done. To stimulate collagen growth the top layer of the skin is destroyed using a laser. It can be performed over the entire face. Depending on their extent treatments may require anesthesia. Skin can be irritated and itchy after laser resurfacing as it makes the skin sensitive. A year after surgery the results start to show and it will last for years.
Another treatment to reduce scars, age spots and appearance of wrinkles is dermabrasion. The top layer of the skin is destroyed by sanding down the skin after administering anesthetics. The skin will be pink, irritated and highly sensitive to the sun soon after the treatment as is the case with other treatments. To obtain the desired results sometimes repeated treatments are necessary.
To reduce the signs of ageing like age spot and wrinkles temporally substances are injected to fill them. Hyaluronic acid, collagen and other fillers will cause bruising and swelling, but it is temporary. In a matter of days skin will look clear and youthful. However, if not done correctly they can cause infections and scars. Another injectable treatment is Botox, which temporarily paralyzes the muscles.
Apart from cosmetic issues more serious skin conditions can impact skin as we age.
Serious Skin Conditions
Wrinkles only hurt our ego. It is more of a cosmetic concern. But as we age we might face more serious skin conditions. We already discussed about skin cancer and the importance of using sunscreen to prevent it. There are also many less well-known conditions.
If dry skin problem is acute the skin can become itchy and it tends to crack. This results in bleeding leading to skin infections. Those with extremely dry skin can get
ulcers. A thick moisturizing lotion can control dry skin to a certain extent. To avoid skin drying out avoid taking hot baths and showers and use mild cleansers. To prevent infections, keep the air moist by running a humidifier. Antibiotic ointment can be used to treat cracked skin.
Skin is your body’s biggest organ. It is possible to have healthy skin for a lifetime but only if you care your aging skin with diligence.