Our skin experiences many structural and biochemical changes over the years. For example, epidermal cells don’t turn over and exfoliate as easily, the production of collagen and elastic tissue proteins slows, and these proteins also weaken becoming less supportive. At our Washington, D.C., dermatology practice, we recommend skin care treatments tailored to the age of our patients.
What Happens as Skin Ages?
As we age, our oil glands don’t produce as much oil causing our skin to become drier, and our skin doesn’t retain as much moisture as it did when it was younger. These biochemical and structural changes result in gravity taking its toll and signs of skin laxity and aging. Early signs of aging include the development of fine lines, particularly around the eyes and lips, deepening of expression lines in the forehead and around the mouth, brittle nails, thinning hair, and even bone loss. The following tips can help you slow the signs of aging at every age.
Since sun exposure is the single biggest cause of damage to skin, the most important thing one can do to protect your skin is to reduce sun exposure. Use sunscreen daily, wear sun protective clothing, and limit time outdoors when the sun is the strongest, typically between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Chronic sun exposure causes fine and coarse wrinkles with a leathery appearance in addition to brown spots and broken blood vessels.
Treat your skin gently and keep it moisturized and hydrated. Always use gentle products, avoid harsh ingredients, and don’t scratch, squeeze, or pick at your skin.
Avoid smoking and exposure to tobacco smoke. Smoking decreases blood flow in smaller vessels, thereby damaging connective tissue which leads to loss of skin elasticity and the formation of wrinkles. Smokers also suffer more damage from sunlight than nonsmokers.
Avoid tanning beds. Ultraviolet radiation from tanning beds can be 10 times more powerful than the midday sun!
Prevention is key! In your mid- to late twenties, collagen and elastic tissue production begins slowing down, and small signs of skin aging slowly become visible. The following treatments and skin care tips can help slow down the process.
Neuromodulators such as BOTOX® Cosmetic, Dysport® and XEOMIN® are increasingly popular among patients in their 20s and early 30s. Younger people do not want to wait for lines to form before they start having neurotoxin treatments. Dr. Isaac recommends that patients in their 20s and early 30s get treated before the expression lines are etched in the skin and apparent at rest.
Start (and stick with) a quality skin care regimen that includes a retinoid, topical antioxidants, a moisturizer, and, of course, sunscreen. Dr. Isaac emphasizes that the single most important thing one can do for prevention of fine lines and wrinkles is sun protection. Use sunscreen daily, even when it is cloudy and during the winter as ultraviolet light penetrates through clouds. Dr. Isaac prefers broad-spectrum sunscreens that contain physical particles like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, as they don’t rely on a chemical reaction to reduce sun damage on the skin. She suggests a daily sunscreen of an SPF30 or greater, and for holidays or more prolonged sun exposure, bump the SPF to 50+ and reapply every two hours. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, use lip balm with SPF 30 or greater, and wear sunglasses with ultraviolet light protection.
Skin retains less moisture and produces less natural oils than it does when you’re younger. A good moisturizer soothes dry skin, makes wrinkles less noticeable and allows for better tolerance of topical retinoids. Vitamin A, or retinoids, also increase collagen production and improve cellular turnover and improving skin color. Other vitamins and antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, E, ferulic acid, and Coenzyme Q10 reduce free radical damage and minimize photodamage. Dr. Isaac suggests that you look for these ingredients in serums, lotions or creams.
Laser Hair removal, chemical peels, intense pulsed light (IPL) and procedures that address unwanted hair, skin texture, acne along with acne scarring treatments are extremely popular treatments among men and women in their 20s at MI-Skin Dermatology and Laser Center in Washington DC.
The skin becomes more delicate, with lines on the eyes and forehead more common. In addition to normal aging processes, harmful environmental influences are now more noticeable. The cell activity decreases and the skin’s barrier layer becomes more compromised. In other words, the skin reacts to these changes with irritation or allergy and redness. With a coordinated care system, including supportive anti-aging products and treatments, light lines can be corrected with ease. Skincare at night is particularly important to promote skin suppleness and regeneration during sleeping hours. In addition to her staples of retinoids, antioxidants, and sunscreen, Dr. Isaac starts to use products that contain peptides and growth factors into one’s skincare regimen during this age.
BOTOX, XEOMIN, and Dysport treatments continue to be a mainstay in wrinkle care and further prevention. Dr. Isaac artfully injects resting lines and improves facial contours by injecting soft tissue fillers such as hyaluronic acids. Juvéderm, Restylane, Belotero, RADIESSE, Bellafill, and Sculptra Aesthetic are tools in her toolbox to fill lines and restore facial volume that occurs during this time. Because fillers can stimulate collagen production, they also have a role in preventing further skin deterioration.
Microneedling and laser treatments, such as Fraxel, stimulate collagen production, smooth fine lines and, improve texture. They are popular with patients in their 30s and 40s. IPL and lasers to reduce sun damage, brown spots and redness also are also popular requests. Rosacea treatments continue to climb in both men and women patients.
The skin becomes thinner and drier. Due to the low moisture content in the skin of both men and women, skin loses more elasticity and strength. Wrinkles are now more prominent. The loss of facial volume accelerates, requiring the use of injectable fillers for youthful restoration. Menopause and related hormonal changes make women more prone to blackheads, pimples, and texture changes. Hormonal changes also lead to vaginal dryness and “Mommy Makeovers” are popular consultations. Dr. Isaac urges essential skin care regimens that help rid the skin of dead skin cells, and she prescribes creams that firm and tightens skin. Her prescribed, coordinated skin care systems can make the skin radiate again.
Lasers and devices that tighten and lift are extremely popular as skin starts to sag due to increased laxity and volume loss. Ultherapy, Exilis Ultra, Infini radiofrequency microneedling, to name a few, are regularly recommended at this age. UltraFemme 360 treatments help restore vaginal moisture and stress-induced urinary incontinence caused by sneezing, exercise and laughing. Dr. Isaac and her team at MI-Skin Dermatology and Laser Center may recommend and use other cosmetic treatments to restore your skin’s youthful appearance.
Dr. Isaac routinely recommends thread lifts, otherwise known as suture suspension, nonsurgical facelifts, during this age. Thread lifts work well for mild to moderate skin laxity, particularly in the jowl area. The suture material also stimulates collagen production because the thread is made of a material that acts as a foreign substance to the body in order to stimulate collagen growth. Some threads have changes in the surface of the material (barbs, cones or knots) that will catch onto the skin, allowing Dr. Isaac to place the thread, position it into the skin in such a way to cause a long-lasting lifting effect that looks great immediately and over time.
Botox and other neuromodulators remain an essential anti-aging treatment, although Dr. Isaac now injects them in more anatomic areas including the neck and jawline.
The skin becomes more complex and generally drier after 55. Lines develop into deeper wrinkles, especially around the nose and mouth. The activity of the sebaceous and sweat glands is restricted, so the skin cannot store enough moisture. The care system must now be optimized and maintained well. Anti-aging products with retinoids, vitamin C, sunscreen, hyaluronic acids, growth factors are essential.
Dr. Isaac strategically uses and combines different modalities to deliver her best signature treatments. According to Dr. Isaac, procedures must be used in combination as no single treatment will restore a youthful appearance. Skin continues aging. Implementing these treatments in a skilled way is what makes Dr. Isaac’s approach unique. She strives to achieve age-appropriate, natural-looking results for her patients. Artfully injecting Botox and soft tissue fillers in addition to performing state of the art skin resurfacing, skin tightening and lifting procedures separate Dr. Isaac from other physicians.