What Causes Skin to age and wrinkles to appear?
Skin ageing is the result of 2 main processes.
- Internal Factors. This refers to genetic factors, hormonal factors and the passage of time.
- External Factors. This refers to factors such as sun and wind exposure, smoking, excess alcohol and poor nutrition.
The signs of ageing skin can be considered in 3 categories.
Type 1 – Pigment and Blood Vessels
There may be areas of pigment discolouration such as localised brown marks or spots on the face or backs of the hands. Another age related effect can be the development of hyperpigmentation where there is irregular increased pigmentation especially on the face. These conditions respond well to laser and pulsed light treatment. Ageing skin can also develop increased redness and flushing which in some people may present as facial capillaries and veins.
Type 2 – Skin Texture and Wrinkles
The first signs of altered skin texture are usually when fine lines begin to form around the eyes and lips. The treatment of fine lines can involve the use of muscle relaxant injections which are especially effective between the eyes, on the forehead and around the eyes. The fine lines of ageing can also be treated by what are called non-ablative lasers where a light beam is used to stimulate new collagen in the skin without damaging the surface layer of the skin.
As ageing progresses the collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid which are the supporting framework of the skin begin to wear out and deeper lines and grooves form in our brow next to the nose and down to the corners of our mouths. The treatment of wrinkles and furrows is often by the use of dermal fillers which are especially effective around the nose and mouth.
Type 3 – Dysplasia
This is where skin cells have been damaged to the extent that they develop changes that can progress to skin cancers. Photodynamic Therapy is an exciting new non-surgical technique that involves the use of a cream and a laser light to treat sun damaged skin before it progresses to more serious skin cancers.