Though the visible signs of aging can develop in many different ways, there are several universal characteristics in our skin that can reveal our age. Youthful skin often appears vibrant and smooth, with small pores and even tone, yet older skin may be mottled, dry and wrinkly with visibly larger pores.
Genetics play a large role in the way that the skin ages. After turning 30, many of us will start to display early signs of aging that have been genetically predetermined, but much of how we age is also determined by extrinsic factors. Depending on the amount of sun damage we receive in our early years—and the influence of factors like smoking or poor diet—the aging process may accelerate rapidly. Fine creases around the eyes become more noticeable and skin laxity starts to increase. Our pores will begin to enlarge with the loss of collagen. With continual sun damage, the overall appearance of the skin becomes weathered and leathery.
Preventative measures can help to ensure a healthy future for our skin. Ideally, the proper use of high-quality daily sun protection from a young age is our best defense against early aging. And then as we age, we can address our skin’s specific needs through effective skin care practices.
Fine lines around the eyes (also known as crow’s-feet) often make their first appearance around this time. Hyperpigmentation in the form of freckles and sunspots may become more noticeable. The skin should still appear supple and firm, with minimal wrinkling.
If they haven’t already done so, patients turning 30 should add a topical product containing retinol to their night time routine. Considered the gold standard in treating the signs of aging, retinoid help to stimulate collagen production and also increase cellular turnover giving a nice glow to the skin and preventing pimples. The ZO Obagi skincare line offers the finest Retinol moisturizers for a radical anti-aging regime.
As collagen and elastin fibres start to deteriorate in our 40s, the visible signs of aging become more obvious. We start to notice frown lines, more prominent wrinkles around the eyes, and fine lines at the corners of the mouth; increased laxity of eyelid skin may also cause the first signs of droopiness in the upper eye. Pores may start to appear larger as skin becomes less taut.
In addition to evening retinol use, which will help keep pores clear, adding SkinMedica® TNS Essential Serum® to your daily routine can increase collagen, reduce pigment and slow down aging all in one. It has natural growth factors, peptides and an excellent combination of antioxidants. It helps to enhance and improve the overall appearance of skin.
With hormone fluctuations often occurring by this time, many 50-something women will start to notice an increase in dryness, along with enlarged pores and deeper wrinkles. The jowls become more prominent as we lose facial volume of the cheekbones (partly related to osteoporosis), in turn compromising the overall structure of the face.
Many patients may need to add an emollient moisturizer containing ceramides, which help the skin to retain moisture, or hyaluronic acid, a powerful humectant that draws moisture to the skin. SkinCeuticals A.G.E. Interrupter helps to slow the signs of aging and keep the skin hydrated on a daily basis.
Enlarged pores, significant lack of elasticity and deeper wrinkles and folds may also be accompanied by an increase in hair growth on the chin, upper lip or cheeks. As the skin and lips become thinner, visible blood vessels also become more apparent. The corners of the lips may also begin to turn downward to create what are called Marionette or puppet lines.
Like the previous decade, patients in their 60s and above often require an intensive moisturizing treatment, along with targeted lip and eye creams. I also tend to see more signs of precancerous cells that require treatment at this stage.
In addition to smart skin care choices, there are a variety of non-invasive anti-aging treatments available at your dermatologist’s office. Dermaroller or Profractional laser treatments are the best way to stimulate new collagen to help resurface and add volume to the skin, while Photodynamic Therapy (PDT) may be necessary for the prevention and treatment of Actinic Keratosis (AK), pre-cancerous cells often on the face or scalp.
At the hands of an experienced physician, injectables can make a world of difference in improving the appearance of wrinkles and folds. For deepening nasolabial folds and marionette lines around the lips, hyaluronic acid fillers such as Restylane® and Juvéderm® are safe, easy and offer the benefit of little downtime.
Botox®, and the newest neuromodulators to hit the market, Xeomin® & Dysport®, are extremely popular for the treatment of active wrinkles such as crow’s-feet, forehead creases and frown lines between the eyebrows. Neuromodulators work by blocking the muscle contractions that cause wrinkles to form, giving the face a relaxed, youthful appearance. They are predominantly used in the upper face for “dynamic wrinkles.”
No matter your age, never underestimate the power of sticking to the basics. Wear sunscreen daily; I recommend one containing zinc oxide as it offers excellent broad-spectrum sun protection. Begin using medical grade skin care early on and learn how to use it correctly. By maintaining healthy skin practices now, you’ll avoid the need for surgical intervention later.
~ Sheri Roselle, Medical Esthetician at Toronto Dermatology Centre