Anti-Aging Skin Treatment in Chicago
Aging is a stressful ongoing reality that usually does not end well. In the 21st century, we are living longer and medical breakthroughs happen weekly. The aging process will happen for now, but knowledge of what tools we have will help make the aging process less stressful and even pleasantly graceful.
What causes aging?
Aging is caused by a combination of internal and external factors. Internal factors include your genes (DNA) that mom and dad gave you and the hormonal changes that occur during aging. The external factors can interplay with the internal factors, and they include damage to the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun; chemicals from tobacco, air pollution, physical wear and tear, poor nutrition, etc.
Your skin has multiple layers, which are all affected by the aging process:
The top layer is your epidermis, which does not have a direct blood supply. It contains your surface skin cells (keratinocytes) and pigment cells (melanocytes). With aging, the keratinocyte layer becomes thinner, fragile, and develops growths. Some of these growths are benign but aging in appearance, while other growths are cancerous and make up the most common type of cancer in the United States. Melanocytes can be damaged by UV rays and other factors. This can produce age spots and at times melanoma, a deadly cancer on the rise. The epidermis is our armor and protects us from the elements. Please wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater, and use a retinoid like Retin-A, which has been shown to stimulate new keratinocyte turnover and exfoliation of dark sun spots.
The second layer is the dermis, which contains a vast array of collagen, giving strength and thickness to the skin; elastin gives elasticity ; proteoglycans provide a scaffold for the dermis; and blood vessels and nerves. Collagen production is reduced with age. UV light from the sun can cause damage to the collagen, especially UVA which can travel through glass and car windows. Diets poor in protein and vitamin C lead to poor collagen formation, while diets rich in simple sugars lead to sugar molecules attaching to collagen and making the collagen more susceptible to breakdown. Inflammation in the form of rashes and acne can cause irreparable damage to the dermis. Therefore, eat a low sugar diet rich in protein (at least 40 grams of protein per day) and take a multivitamin daily. Wear a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or greater. Consider the use of retinoids, like Retin-A or Tazorac in order to stimulate fresh collagen and elastin formation.
The third layer is the fatty and fascia layer, which stores energy and plays a hormonal role. With age, fat can accumulate in undesirable areas and be lost from wanted areas. It is important to eat balanced and prevent cycles of weight gain, which can stretch the skin. There are many surgical and non-surgical tools for reducing fatty tissue. Also, fillers can be used to put volume where volume is lost, restoring the youthful look. Underneath the fat layer can be muscle and bone, which are also affected by aging. Preventing bone and muscle loss help maintain a youthful look. Maintain muscle and bone with daily exercise, well-balanced diet, appropriate supplements, and even prescription medications that doctors have for protecting bones from mineral loss and muscles from atrophy (muscle loss).
In order to blunt the aging process, all the above structures need to be protected or repaired. It’s that simple to say, but it takes hard work to do. In subsequent articles, I will delve deeper into the details of aging and how the hands of time can be reversed.
One of the most visible signs of aging is the condition of our skin. While time alone doesn’t dictate the quality of your skin, it’s a big factor and one you can’t control, unlike limiting sun exposure, staying hydrated, and refraining from smoking. But the dermatologists at Dermatologic Cosmetic & Plastic Surgery are experienced and knowledgeable in the variety of treatments that can help restore vitality, suppleness, and fullness to your skin at any age.
As with most health and aging-related issues, prevention is the key to the long-lasting beautiful skin so we tailor our services to even teens and twenty-somethings to help them learn and maintain good skin habits. But no matter what age you are and what condition your skin is in, we are here to help so call today to schedule a free consultation.