As the body ages so does the skin, but because the skin is exposed to the environment it can often age at a faster rate than the rest of the body. When this accelerated skin aging occurs it is referred to as premature aging.
WHAT CAUSES SKIN AGING?
Skin Aging is the result of the interplay of internal factors such as genetics and hormones with external factors such as sun, wind, diet and smoking.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF AGING SKIN?
Aging skin results in 5 main types of change to the skin.
(1) CHANGE IN REDNESS: This can present as discrete red linear blood vessels on the skins surface (Broken Capillaries) or as more generalised redness and flushing (Diffuse Redness). It is most common on the face, neck and chest.
(2): CHANGE IN PIGMENT: Everyone has some level of uneven pigment in the skin and as we age this becomes more obvious particularly with excessive sun exposure. Increased pigmentation can be as discrete Brown Spots or as more generalised uneven pigmentation. Loss of pigment can also occur resulting in white patches (Hypopigmentation)
(3) CHANGE IN TEXTURE: As we age the skin starts to loose moisture and become dry and thickened. Sun exposed areas such as the face, hands and chest start to show these changes first. Pore size also often increases.
(4) CHANGE IN WRINKLES: Repeated muscle movement over years results in increased wrinkles and lines which first appear during movement and then stay present at rest. Loss of skin elasticity and loss of facial volume as we age amplifies the wrinkles and then folds around the cheeks and mouth start to deepen and sag.
(5) CHANGE IN CELLS: As we age damage to the DNA in our skin cells can cause the cells to change (called Dysplasia) and pre cancers (Solar Keratosis) can start to appear. These are usually the result of cumulative damage but can be from even one bad sun exposure when young. Skin cancers can develop which range from locally invasive BCC (Basal Cell Carcinomas) and SCC (Squamous Cell Carcinomas) to the potentially much more dangerous Melanomas which can spread.
HOW CAN SKIN AGING BE TREATED?
The choice of treatment depends on which signs of aging are the major concern and the level of improvement that is desired. For the optimal results in improving aging skin it is usually necessary to address several problems. In some situations this is able to be done in the same treatment session whereas in other situations different issues need to be addressed sequentially.
Skin redness can be very effectively treated with vascular lasers. For more information visit Skin Redness
Skin pigmentation often requires a combination approach of skin products, topical treatments and laser treatment. For more information visit Skin Pigmentation
Textural changes can be helped by appropriate skincare such as Vitamin A topically and moisturisers. Skin treatments such as Microdermabrasion, Laser peels, Picotoning and INFINI skin needling can all be beneficial in the right situation.
Skin dysplasia and pre cancers can be spot treated by liquid nitrogen or excision whilst more extensive areas can be field treated by prescription creams or Photodynamic therapy (PDT). PDT is an exciting non-surgical method of treating sun damaged skin before it progresses to skin cancer. A topical amino acid is applied as a cream to make the skin photosensitive and then a light source is applied to destroy the abnormal cells.
WHAT IS PHOTOREJUVENATION?
Photorejuvenation is a general term for the use of light based technologies to make the skin look younger. Various light devices are available for Photorejuvenation, notably Lasers, Intense Pulse Light(IPL) and Light Emitting Diodes (LED). For more information see page on Skin Rejuvenation.