1. First, carefully choose your ancestors!! Those with thicker skin and more melanin age slower and have less skin cancers. Scandinavian families have thinner, less pigmented skin (from the pigment melanin) so less protection from the sun and less elasticity, thus experience more sagging and sun damage issues.
2. Avoid sunshine! Sun damage begins in youth and is accumulative. More exposure equals more damage. Use a sunscreen! Now that sunscreens are widely available, many are under the misperception that a sun screen is only needed if sun tanning or in the direct sun for an extended time. Sun screen with at least a 30 SPF should be applied every day. Even riding in a car on a cloudy day can result in sun damage. Do you wonder why the left side of your face seems to have more age spots than your right? To see what your skin would look like without sun exposure, look at the inside of your arms.
3. Avoid eating simple carbohydrates! This means sugar, white potatoes, rice and white breads. All cause glycation which leads to premature aging of the skin and this means more sagging. What is glycation? Glycation is an unwanted bond between a sugar and protein molecule that sticks to everything, such as elastin, enzymes, and collagen fibers. This causes sagging, hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and ultimately heart attacks, strokes, and death. Glycation is bad.
4. Stay Hydrated! Drink plenty of water.
5. Avoid Smoking! An identical twin who smokes looks 10-15 years older than their non-smoking twin at 50 years old. Smoking constricts blood vessels reducing nutrients and oxygen to the tissues, e.g., skin. In addition, waste products can’t get out of the cells, and each cell becomes a cesspool of toxins.
Obviously it is impossible to choose one’s ancestors; however, following the rules above will significantly help. Once the damage is done, can one slow down or even reverse the effects of premature skin aging and sagging? The answer is a definite YES. What skin damage treatments to reverse sun damage are available today?
1. Cosmeceuticals have evolved which actually do something. Prior to the 1980’s all that was available were topical creams that basically did nothing but moisturize. Now Cosmeceutical skin products have ingredients close to prescription strength, and studies have shown that these products can actually reverse skin damage, including DNA damage. The earlier one starts a daily skin care regimen, the better.
New Youth Skin Treatment is a Cosmeceutical line with ingredients for anti-glycation, to repair DNA, peptides, whole food nutrients, and much more to repair the cells that produce your skin. Healthy cells produce healthy and beautiful skin. We have proven this for over 18 years.
2. Botox or Dysport. These temporary “paralytics” are wildly popular with those in their 30’s and 40’s because they will actually paralyze the muscles that create frown lines and laugh lines preventing them from getting deeper with age.
3. Fillers such as Restylane, Juvederm, Voluma and Sculptra. These products actually “re-volumize” the face in the areas that begin to lose volume due to losing “baby fat”. Once injected, some of these products are now lasting over two years and can lead to dramatic results of looking 5 to 10 years younger. (Liquid facelifts).
4. Fraxel Lasers, the “Gold Standard,” that remove tiny columns of tissue, thus removing up to 20% of the skin and tightening the skin. The Fraxel Re:Store is one treatment that tightens the skin. These lasers will remove the top layer of damaged, aged skin resulting in more youthful skin that glows. Often a Fraxel laser treatments combined with fillers can provide a stunning effect of “turning back the clock” non-surgically.
5. Thermi Aesthetics and Liposuction. If one’s facial skin starts to sag to the point that fillers and skin care are not enough to achieve one’s goals, a non surgical option, is the ThermiTight or ThermiSmooth which can tighten the jowl and neck area as well as melt unwanted fat with no anesthesia and minimal downtime. They are also effective for reducing cellulite.
All of the above are non-surgical, minimal to no recovery procedures; however the day may come when some feel they would prefer to “undergo the knife” and have everything “fixed” at one time. This is when a facelift ,possibly with eyelid lift, forehead lift, fat grafts or fillers are tailored to the patient’s desires. The face lift is still the gold standard for turning back the clock, but there are now many options to look younger without actual surgery. However, due to improved surgical techniques, facial surgery can now be done under minimal anesthesia with a much shorter recovery than those performed in the past.
Patients now have many options to choose from to meet their goals of “looking” and thus “feeling” younger and better about themselves.
E. Ronald Finger, MD, FACS