Anti-Aging: What You Need to Know - Toronto Dermatology Centre
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Anti-Aging: What You Need to Know

 I remember the first time I looked in the mirror and thought, “wow, when did this happen?” As if overnight, I started to see things like fine lines and wrinkles, mild sagging in the jawline and a faint darkening under my eyes. I didn’t remember going to sleep looking like that. What happened??

The sad truth, my friends, is that aging happens to all of us. And while we don’t have to like it, we also don’t have to accept it; in fact, we can match what we feel on the inside to what appears on the outside. Together, we can help correct some of this aging nonsense with just a few simple modifications.

Each decade our hormones change, and this is probably the biggest factor in our skincare frustrations. There are, of course, both intrinsic (genetics) and external factors (UV exposure, lifestyle) that contribute to accelerated skin aging. And while no two people are the same, we all share commonality in the aging process.

Women in their 40s and 50s fall into the category of peri-menopausal, which refers to the timeframe (up to 10 years before actual menopause) when estrogen production slows down.

Estrogen production affects some key functions in the skin. It helps regulate the rate of skin cell turnover, or how quickly our skin produces new cells. When our bodies produce less estrogen, it signals to the skin to slow down its cellular turnover process.

This means that dead skin cells are collecting on the surface of the skin, making lines look deeper, brown spots darker and, generally, the skin appears duller, less plump and less youthful overall.

In addition, collagen loss starts to manifest during our 40s, causing wrinkles to appear more prominent. This loss of a very important underlying structure prompts a thinning of the epidermis, which can cause skin to look “crepey”, and may lead to sagginess and neck wattles. We may also develop shadows, blotches and dark under-eye circles as a result of thinning skin and volume loss.

We’re also left with the tell-tale signs of accelerated photo-aging on our faces, arms, hands and legs as those once-darling freckles and brown spots that have accrued from years of sun exposure start to darken. Now that we know the specific skin care issues we face in our 40s and beyond, let’s talk about the key ingredients that can help to correct them.

Free radicals can be introduced in many different ways: via the environment in the form of UV radiation or pollutants, or through lifestyle in the form of smoking. These scavenger particles of oxygen start to destroy organic substances (like proteins) in your body and skin. Once the proteins are damaged, the result is oxidation, which is similar to the process of metal rusting or apples browning after being cut. In the skin, free radicals lead to oxidative destruction characterized by loss of collagen, skin wrinkling, and darkening of pigment.

The only way to neutralize free radicals is to employ antioxidants (think vitamins C and E), which act as free radical scavengers. Regardless of how cleanly you eat or how healthy you are, only about 20 percent of antioxidants you ingest orally will make it to your skin; your body will disperse the rest elsewhere. Therefore, you need a strong topical antioxidant to deliver the benefits directly on top of the skin.

Growth factors are the proteins responsible for rejuvenating skin. Topical growth factors are absorbed into the skin and then trigger a signal cascade to help support proteins in the extra cellular matrix: collagen and elastin.  Peptides, too, help support collagen and elastin.

Vitamin A, or retinol, is one of the only vitamins our bodies cannot produce naturally, and yet it is essential to maintaining the integrity of the skin. It plays a key role in the growth, elasticity, strength and renewal of skin tissue. Retinol stimulates cellular turnover, resulting in a refinement of texture as well as a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and flat brown spots or sun freckles.

When committing to a healthy skin care routine, an SPF of 30 or greater is a necessity. Broad-spectrum sunscreen protects against UVA damage, the primary cause of skin aging, as well as the UVB rays that lead to sunburn.

I also like to add products containing Hyaluronic acid to my daily regime. Hyaluronic acid acts like a sponge, holding up to 1000 times its weight in water! Now that is a great way to add not only volume to the skin, but a gorgeous glow at the same time.

When dealing within medical grade skin care products, I am able to get all of my anti-aging ingredients in my day cream, my night cream and of course my sunscreen. It doesn’t take any longer to apply products that slow down the aging process; it just takes a little knowledge. And that is where we come in. At Toronto Dermatology Centre, we are specialized in knowing which products will give you the most bang for your buck. Our consults are complimentary, and we can help you get started on a great anti-aging routine right away.

~Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre

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