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Aging Skin - Can You Turn Back The Clock?

It doesn’t matter what your job is, how much money you’ve got, what hobbies you have or what foods you like. We all age. Part of that aging process includes changes in the way our skin looks. These are probably not the kinds of changes most us of us get excited about. Still, it’s a fact of life. As we age, so does our skin. There are numerous factors, however, that play into how our aging skin changes and to what degree. Some of them we can control, some we can’t. And, as is often the case, there is a wide range of options available when it comes to dealing with aging skin. What makes the most sense for you will depend entirely on who you are, your lifestyle, and what you want.

First, understand that some of what goes into the way your skin will age is entirely out of your control. People say things about folks having “good genes” (or bad ones) all the time. With aging skin, it’s the truth. Hereditary patterns in your family lineage can give you a hint at how your own skin will respond to the aging process. Take a look at Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa. Their skin offers a glimpse of your own future. Furrows in the brow, tiny lines and crinkles around the eyes, drooping eyelids, loose skin along the jaw line, even the tendency to develop cellulite -- these are all indicators of aging skin. If your older family members are dealing with them, chances are good you’ll experience at least some of it as well.

While you can’t control the genes you’ve got, there are several factors that affect the way skin ages you can control. The way you live your life now absolutely does affect the way your skin will age later. Cigarette smoke, whether it is you doing the smoking or someone you spend a lot of time with, is damaging to and ages your skin. Unprotected skin that is exposed to the sun is very aging to the skin (not to mention the increased risk of skin cancer). Living a sedentary lifestyle (i.e. not exercising enough) impacts how our skin ages. Spending too much time in cold winds and low temperatures, especially if you don’t combat the dryness with a good moisturizer, is a bad idea. Over consumption of alcohol will eventually dilate small blood vessels in the skin and increase flow near the skin’s surface, potentially permanently damaging your skin’s appearance. Too much stress? Bad for the skin. Finally, and perhaps stating the obvious, a lack of sleep will indeed lead to dark circles and bags under your eyes, even sagging skin.

We age. So does our skin. Once you’ve got a grasp on the factors you can and can’t control, then what? Prescription topical options include hydroquinone and tretinoin. The former inhibits the production of melanin, the source of pigment or color in our skin, and as a results lightens the skin. It is frequently recommended to treat areas of hyperpigmentation (melasma or sun spots) Tretinoin is a form of vitamin A that can be used to help the skin renew itself more quickly and can be effective in reducing fine lines and wrinkes as well as skin texture. Both are prescription products applied topically and should be used as directed by a doctor.

Chemical peels and facials, are another treatment option. They range in intensity from superficial to deep, having anywhere from a month-long effect to several years. Peels and facials are used to address mild acne scars, age spots, dull skin texture, discoloration and wrinkles. Literally, a chemical peel removes the outer layers of skin to encourage the growth of new, smoother skin.

Finally, there are three different laser treatment options that we offer at our GLOW Surgical Arts Bay Area offices:

Laser Skin Rejuvenation is a gentle, non-abrasive technique that can help reduce erythema (redness), diminish pore size, reduce wrinkles, and improve overall skin texture. Often referred to as the " laser facial", there is no downtime and it’s an option for all skin types.

Smart Skin CO2 is a newer treatment option. It’s customizable to your needs, whether you’re looking to deal with aging, sun damaged or scarred skin. A single procedure will leave your skin looking younger, your pores smaller, your lines, wrinkles, scars and discoloration less noticeable. SmartSkin CO2 uses a CO2 laser that delivers laser pulses to the skin, and once the laser energy is passed through the epidermis to the deeper, collagen bearing tissues below, the interaction of water, the CO2 laser, and collagen leads to a rejuvenation and skin tightening.

IPL If the principle concern is skin redness, sun damage or uneven skin tone, IPL may be the answer. IPL uses light pulses to treat skin conditions sucha as age spots, sun-damaged skin, benign pigmented epidermal lesinos such as freckles and melasma, and vascular lesions such as spider veins.

If you have reached a point where you’d like to at least learn more about the options for aging skin, one of our cosmetic surgeons can walk you through each technique and help you determine what makes the most sense for you during a free, no obligation consultation. Ultimately, the way you choose to deal with your skin’s aging process is entirely up to you. If you have questions, we’re happy to answer them.

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