We all want the compliment that we look “good for our age”……even if it is a back-handed compliment. Aging is inevitable and even though we think it should be embraced as part of a natural, healthy process, we never said we won’t go down swinging.
Aging is achieved with the development of wrinkles, uneven texture, pigmentation and usually little broken red capillaries. Men supposedly age faster than women but of course society does not view their aging as a bad thing or something to necessarily halt as much as their female counterparts. Studies have also shown that there is no association between aging and the color of someone’s skin, but trust me, I’ve been in this industry for 20+ years, there is definitely a correlation. I think the darker the skin the better you age as in my humble opinion it works almost like a built-in sunscreen. This doesn’t mean that darker skin individuals don’t need to wear sunscreen, but it is something we should think about and study more to find out if I’m right.
Aging happens in two ways: one you can control and one you cannot.
The one we cannot control is called intrinsic aging (i.e. genetics) thanks mom and dad. Whereas extrinsic factors are the ones we can control by modifying our environment. Smoking, sun exposure and nutrition (mainly sugar) are the biggest culprits of extrinsic aging. While we can’t control our genetics, we can control our environment so let’s talk a little bit about the things we can do that will matter 40 years from now.
A number of factors contribute to extrinsic skin ageing, including sun exposure, smoking, diet, pollution, chronic stress, skincare, weight and sleep.
Sun exposure is by far the biggest culprit to your aging rate, when we tell you to put on your damn sunscreen on, we mean it. UV rays cause direct damage to the DNA in your skin cells, they won’t function as well, and they even die with repeat offenses. You are literally killing your besties sis. Sun exposure also creates horrible little tyrants called free radicals – these little trouble-makers not only breakdown collagen but also make you produce less of it and coveted elastin over time. The lighter your skin tone, the worse your photoaging will be and of course we all know sun exposure has been directly linked to all types of skin cancer. So,we will say it again and again……. “WEAR YOUR DAMN SUNSCREEN PEOPLE.”
PS: You do NEED small amounts of (sun exposure) every day, your body uses this important vitamin D for optimal functioning. Therefore, we suggest 15 min exposures either in the early morning before 11AM or afternoon exposure after 3PM. There are tons of food sources high in Vit D and of course there are supplements you can take.
We suggest you avoid any sun exposure inbetweener the hours of 11AM-3PM and if you are going to have sun exposure for more than 15 minutes we suggest using a mineral sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. Please never ever ever, like ever get a sunburn, re-apply your sunscreen every two hours, stay in the shade or wear protective clothing and sunglasses.
Not only is smoking bad for your skin, it’s bad for your breathe, and your overall longevity. It ages the skin faster, can cause melanoma, oral cancer is more prevelant and surprisingly even psoriasis. It will break down collagen and elastin faster and create more of those nasty free radicals. It causes slower wound healing times due to the microvasculature changes. It will literally change the DNA of your skin and also creates the dreaded “smoker’s mouth lines.” I don’t know what else we have to say to get you to stop smoking but girl get you some therapy or a nicotine patch.
We all know a well-rounded diet is fundamental for maintaining overall physical health across all body systems. Fruits and vegetables and fatty acids have mostly been associated with a reduced appearance of skin ageing. Antioxidants such as Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, curcumin, polyphenols promote younger looking skin, our favorite to sell in the office is Vitamin C.Ya’ll know I love me some Retin A, it regulates genes, the extracellular matrix proteins and also prevents photodamage. We also think it helps prevent skin cancer over time but you should still have your bi-annual checks with your dermatologist.
Although there are no conclusive studies to tie water consumption to the hydration in our skin. We know water is important at the cellular level which controls everything in our body. Hydrated skin appears fuller, reducing wrinkles and evening contour. Supplements such as zinc, iron and copper can also be useful for maintaining healthy cell biology and formation of the extracellular matrix. FYI: Zinc might also make your neurotoxin (Botox) last longer, you might want to add some Magnesium while you are at it.
Okay this is the hardest one personally for me…………..Alcohol. This is how I prefer to break down my collagen. I don’t get more than 15 mins of sun, I don’t smoke, but you will NEVER get me to give up Bloody Marys, Bubbles and Bordeaux. Now they say it must be excessive which is more than 4 oz a day, I’m just saying have you measured 4 oz of wine, it’s just enough to piss me off, so I am in the collagen breakdown level of alcohol consumption. It’s the sugar content in the alcohol or our diet that not only promotes inflammation in our skin but damage at the cellular level. So think twice about that espresso martini, I know I’m sad too.
In this office, we always say wash the day off your face. Did you know washing your face at night is actually more important than washing it in the morning b/c the day is literally on your face. Let me explain how gross that is, other people’s breathe (carbon monoxide), secondhand smoke, smog, nitrogen dioxide, and vehicle emissions have all been found in our environment and are all associated with skin aging. The combination of harmful UV rays and all this other chemical junk that gets thrown at our face all day accelerates aging. This is why using an antioxidant every single morning (our favorite is Vitamin C) is so important to fight of the effects of this barrage of beauty burglars. We should also try to engage in habits or activities that reduce/reverse climate change if we can.
This is a big one for most of us, I don’t know about you but there are literally not enough hours in the day and I feel myself getting pulled in a million different directions everyday. I find it difficult to even catch my breathe much less finding time to meditate or sneak in self-care. Even though it hasn’t been highly researched yet, we all know stress will age you faster. We’ve either experienced it ourselves or know someone it’s happened to. It’s like our chaotic outside is connected to how well our cells can function on the inside, as if we needed one more thing to worry about. Chronic stress elevates are cortisol level and in return disrupts our hormonal hypothalamic-pituitary axis, our automatic nervous system and our immune system. Although avoiding stress is well………..unavoidable, having good coping mechanisms and a way to relax is paramount to our physical and mental health.
When people ask what the cheapest, most effective treatment I can sell them in my office that is going to make the biggest difference for them long term, I always have one word for them, Skincare. However, compliance is key and my favorite sentence for any skincare regimen is “it doesn’t work in the bathroom drawer, you have to actually get it out everyday and get it on your face.” My short list of skincare is a good cleanser, Vitamin C, Retin A, moisturizer and possibly a toner or serum. Skincare does not have to take 15 steps to be effective.
One of the reasons we brought in the functional medicine side to our practice is because we finally realized that how you feel on the inside will completely reflect how you look on the outside eventually. Having optimized hormones and being at a healthy weight are important parameters for aging gracefully. There are so many other benefits to functional medicine though such as memory function, sex drive, creating lean muscle mass, getting good sleep, having less mood swings and making sure that your hair, skin and nails continue to be supple and healthy.
Sleep is so important for so many different reasons, although studies are rare when it comes to sleep and skin aging, we have all seen the friend the next day who didn’t sleep well, and we are usually not complimenting them on their glowing skin or personality. Although not everyone needs 8 hours of sleep that is still the recommended timeline for optimal functioning.
While we do want you to consider all the different thing that can contribute to your aging over time, we don’t want any of our patient database to be overly concerned or anxious about aging. Do what you can to reduce your risk but don’t be afraid to get some wrinkles. None of us are getting out of this without some wrinkles and that’s okay. Feel free to come into our award winning med spa located in Southlake Texas, we can provide a customized consultation for you where we discuss all the things we have in our office to slow the aging process for you. In the meantime, wear your sunscreen sis and try to relax.
the L.A.B. med spa
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