Understanding How Your Skin Ages: A Crash Course

Mom taught us early on to ‘just say no’ to drugs… and premature aging.

Today we’re taking that wisdom one step further with a ‘hell no’ and an ‘amen to that.’

Yes, aging is to be celebrated, but premature aging? In the words of the legendary Sweet Miss Brown, “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

The good news? What you look like right now, and 20 years from now, is well within your control if you invest in a doctor-prescribed treatment plan.

And more good news. We’ve found it’s perfectly possible to step up your anti-aging efforts simply by understanding the effects of time on your face. Knowing what’s around the corner is absolutely vital to looking your best for as long as possible. So, we’re going to float a few basic facts out there for you to file under ‘skincare prowess’.

Essentially there are two types of aging: the kind that happens from within and the kind inflicted by the environment and other external forces. The latter is far more sinister (cue the Jaws theme song) but can also easily be prevented, which is why we’re here to help (now cue the Superman theme song).

Intrinsic aging, or internal aging has to do with the inevitable passing of tick-tocks on the clock, genetics and all of the various conditions that can arise in-between, no matter how disciplined we are about our lifestyle. Have a quick look at your mom and dad and you’ll probably see a glimpse of what’s to come. Signs of intrinsic aging can include dull and dry skin with significant dehydration, wrinkles caused by a natural loss of collagen and elastin (exacerbated by facial expressions), redness in the form of broken capillaries under the skin and large pores. Frankly, large pores in particular can be damned.

On top of these natural forces of aging, is what the environment, an incorrigible punisher if we do say so, does to your skin. This is called extrinsic aging and is the one definitely within your control. Extrinsic aging is pretty much all of the self-inflicted damage you’ve done over a lifetime, which includes sun exposure, smoking, deficient nutrition, pollution, sleep deprivation and other evils that can sabotage your looks (read: vodka and the like). Signs of extrinsic aging include rough skin texture or scaly patches, a collection of brown spots particularly on the upper chest (the upper chest doesn’t lie where sun damage is concerned) and pronounced wrinkling or sagging on the cheeks and neck which is almost always a result of the sun. Yes, years of leaving the house naked and devoid of sunblock will always come back to bite you. Ouch.

When you combine both intrinsic and extrinsic aging in your thirties you begin to see the first glimpse of real age. Things like puffiness or hollowness (or both) under the eyes, drooping eyelids, rings around the neck and a loss of youthful radiance start to appear. In your 40s there’s a dip in estrogen among women, so your skin suddenly gets drier. Any brown spots start to turn a darker shade of brown, there’s a more visible loss of elasticity in the form of sinking cheeks and pronounced expression lines around the mouth and eyes. When 50+ strikes, all of the above become more magnified as collagen diminishes and with it the once bouncy, cushy filling you used to take for granted.

Our skincare philosophy is that if you know what to expect, you’ll be better prepared to correct, protect and, most important, PREVENT.

So, let’s get on it, shall we? Make an appointment with your local, board-certified derm, doctor or plastic surgeon and get on a plan to stop the visible signs of aging in their tracks. Not that we miss the blemish-prone days of our youth one bit…

Written by: Stephanie Simons