Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

How Wrinkles Form September 12, 2011

Filed under: Aging — askanesthetician @ 5:39 am
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We’re all going to get them eventually.  There’s no way to stop from getting a wrinkle though there are numerous ways to try to lessen the appearance of wrinkles and to stop them from getting deeper.

How exactly do wrinkles form in the first place?  Dr. Leslie Baumann explains the process very succinctly:

… all wrinkles are caused by the same chain of events within the skin.  Age causes uppermost epidermal cells to get thinner and less sticky, which allows moisture to seep out in turn making skin drier.  Oil glands also begin to slow down, which contributes to dryness as well.  A bit deeper in the skin, supportive scaffolding (i.e. collagen and elastin) breaks down, and skin loses its smoothness and tautness – leaving it on other choice than to wrinkle and sag.  In the skin’s lowest layer, the subcutaneous layer, fat cells begin to shrink, so they are less able to “fill in” or plump out damage in the skin’s other layers.

There are quite a few factors that contribute negatively to this skin chain of events:

  • Sun exposure:  UV rays breakdown our collagen and elastin.  One of the easiest ways to prevent wrinkles and skin laxity is to be a vigilant sunscreen user – every day (no matter the weather) and to reapply throughout the day if you are outside or by a window.  Yes, aging UV rays can pass through glass.
  • Repeated facial expressions:  Areas of the face, like by the eyes or the forehead, wrinkle because of repeated use of that area.  Just as lines become a permanent part of a piece of paper that has been folded and refolded facial lines become etched in your skin.
  • Genetics:  How your parents aged can work both for and against you.  Some people win in the skin lottery – their DNA actually protects them from aging.  On the other hand, other people lose out when it comes to aging.  Think about how your parents looked in their 60s in order to determine how you may look at that age as well.
  • Skin color:  The lighter your skin tone is the less natural sun protection you have (that doesn’t mean that someone with darker skin can forgo daily sun protection – everyone needs sunscreen).  Darker skin tones show wrinkles later than those with light skin.
  • Your health:  poor health can adversely affect your skin.  The medications you are prescribed can also have a negative effect on your skin.
  • Your diet:  Though there continues to be quite a bit of debate over how our diet affects our skin a few things are clear – it is always best for your overall health and your skin’s health to eat a diet low in processed foods and full of multi-colored fruits and vegetables.  Omega-3 rich foods (fish, walnuts, and almonds for example) are anti-inflammatory which protects the skin from aging.  (Many experts believe that skin inflammation is at the root of skin aging).
  • Lack of sleep and stress:  Both of these factors can cause your body and your skin to age faster than it would normally.  See my previous posts for more information on both of these topics:  No Lie – Why You Really Do Need Your Beauty Sleep and Stress and Your Skin.
  • Smoking:  Cigarettes are a killer.  They kill your body and your looks.  See my previous post for more details:  How Smoking Ruins Your Skin.

I want to end this post on a positive note so let me once again quote Dr. Baumann for some easy advice on preventing and correcting facial wrinkles:

So now you’re probably wondering what you can do about wrinkles?  If you haven’t already started preventing signs of aging by wearing sunscreen every day, it’s not too late.  To repair wrinkles, retinoids are the most effective skincare ingredient available today because they address these aging changes within the skin.  These vitamin A derivatives boost your skin’s collagen production and help thicken the uppermost layer of the skin.  Together, these actions smooth the appearance of wrinkles and keep skin looking its best.

 

Sources and Further Reading:

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Younger Looking Hands August 15, 2011

If you really want to tell someone’s age don’t look at their face – look at their hands.  So often people forget to care for their hands and simply concentrate all their anti-aging efforts on their faces.

Over a year ago I wrote a blog post called Give Your Hands Some TLC, but I thought I would revisit the subject of caring for your hands with a few new tips and product recommendations.

Just as there is a solution for every skin issue that you have with your facial skin there is also a solution for the skin issues on your hands as well.  First off, you can use the anti-aging products you use on your face on your hands too.  Retinols, either prescription or OTC, will help smooth your hands and stimulate collagen production so that your hands will eventually look younger.

If you spend a lot of time outside either working, playing sports, or driving consider wearing gloves.  During the summer you can wear fingerless gloves like these gloves from Coolibar.

If your hands have lost a lot of their volume consider injections like Radiesse or Restylane to restore volume and help build collagen.  This procedure can also help hide prominent veins.  Or consider laser treatments which can get rid of sun damage, age spots, crepiness, and help build collagen as well.  Just as you can have a chemical peel performed on your face in order to treat hyperpigmentation and fine lines the same thing can be done on your hands.  As always with chemical peels – a series of peels usually yields the best results.

If you aren’t ready for treatments that only a doctor can provide like the injections or the laser treatments be sure to keep your hands well moisturized and to use spf on your hands.  Moisturizer temporarily plumps the skin leading to a smoother appearance.  You could even apply a moisturizing hand mask like this mask from OPI.  Using spf daily, and reapplying before you go outside, helps prevent sun spots and collagen loss over time.

 

Sources and Further Reading:

 

What is Sebum? It’s More Interesting Than You Think April 21, 2011

If you suffer from oily skin, shiny skin, or acne you’ve probably given the amount of oil or sebum your body produces some thought.  Probably that thought is: “Why does my body produce so much oil and how can I stop it?”.  Well before you try to entirely rid your skin of oil keep a few things in mind. 

According to the Skin Type Solutions  blog:

In simplest terms, sebum is just oil secreted by your skin’s sebaceous glands. Sebum is actually Latin for “fat,” which makes sense, and every square inch of your skin—with the exception of the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet—has it.

Most of us tend to focus on the negative side of sebum, such as its ability to make your face look shiny, and its connection with acne. But the presence of sebum is actually good for your skin since it protects the skin from losing moisture. Yet another good thing about sebum is that it contains a lot of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects the skin from aging as well as cancer. (The skin on the lips does not make sebum, which is why this area is more prone to skin cancer.)

Dermatologists are intrigued by the components of sebum, which seems to be determined by your individual genetic makeup. Upon taking a closer look, researchers have found sebum contains triglycerides, diglycerides, fatty acids, wax esters, squalane and cholesterol—why is why cosmetic chemists incorporate some of these ingredients in anti-aging creams. It was once believed that squalane levels in the sebum contributed to acne, but again, no definitive link has been made. Squalane is often added to skin creams so those with oily and acne-prone skins should avoid this ingredient to be on the safe side.

 

If you have acne then you have to deal with the excessive production of sebum by your body which contributes to breakouts.   According to the book Breaking Out (page 20):

People who are prone to acne tend to produce higher-than-average amounts of sebum.  This gives them oily skin – seborrhea, as it is called.  Seborrhea has no direct link with what you eat; the fats and oil in your diet are broken down by the digestive system, and there is no pathway from there to the skin.

Nor is sebum production influenced by anything you apply to your skin.  No matter how dry or tight they may make your face feel, astringent soaps, lotions, or cosmetics that mop up oil on the skin’s surface cannot retard sebum output.  Nor, contrary to popular belief, do they stimulate the sebaceous glands to overcompensate by stepping up oil production to lubricate the dried-out surface.  Sebum output is strictly under the domination of hormones that are indifferent to cleansers, toners, and other topical oil-control treatments.

The connection between hormones and sebum does not necessarily mean that if you have excess oil on your face, your body is producing an overabundance of testosterone, or that your skin boasts an excess follicle-stimulating DHT.  It is instead, typically, a sign that your sebaceous follicles are super-sensitive to these hormones and that they overreact to them, sending out the gush of shine-creating oil that is the most common feature of acne-prone skin.

 

So perhaps the next time you look at your oily face try to turn a negative into a positive and remember that the sebum in your skin can be beneficial.  But if your shiny face is bothering you, and I sympathize greatly since my face can look like an oil slick by the afternoon, follow my tips in my post Shine Free: How to Deal with Excessively Oily or Shiny Skin  for solutions.

 

 
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