As Pioneers of Ageless Beauty, we are excited to offer you fresh education in the art and science of beauty. Through this blog, we plan to arm you with the tools and information you’ll need for skin that shines from the inside out. As we like to say at Laser & Skin, healthy skin is beautiful skin!
CHAPTER 2: AGING SKIN
Getting older — it’s inevitable — and unfortunately, many of the first signs of aging tend to appear on our skin. After all, not only is skin the body’s largest organ, it’s also the organ most exposed to environmental factors. While we haven’t figured out how to stop getting older, there is a reason they call us the Pioneers of Ageless Beauty. In this month’s Beauty CoDe, we’ll explain what happens as our skin ages and arm you with the tools and information you need to help slow down the process.
INTRINSIC AND EXTRINSIC AGING
As mentioned, when we fight the signs of aging skin, our opponent is fighting back with a double-edged sword: two types of aging. Intrinsic aging is a physiological process — one we have little control over because it is mostly based on our genetic makeup. The battle of extrinsic aging is where we are able to take up arms and fight back. Extrinsic aging, as you may have guessed, involves the external factors that affect our skin. This includes sun exposure, free radicals, smoking, diet and stress.
While we can’t change our genes, we can take control of the external factors that age our skin. To do that, let’s learn more about what exactly happens to skin when you age.
Collagen is one of the most popular buzzwords of anti-aging — and for good reason! Collagen is a protein found in our skin (along with other areas in the body) that gives skin its structure and firmness. As we age, our natural stores of collagen deplete, resulting in a weaker framework for our skin. That’s when we start seeing our skin thinning and fine lines developing. The good news? While our body isn’t naturally creating as much collagen, there are ways to trick it into doing this. You’ve heard of ingredients and treatments that stimulate collagen production, right?
Peptides are a great example! When the collagen in our skin breaks down, it naturally forms specific peptides that act like messengers to your skin, telling it to create new collagen. When we use certain products with peptides, we trick our skin into thinking it’s lost collagen and has to make more.
Important to note: When looking for products to boost collagen, you shouldn’t necessarily look for collagen as an ingredient. Rather, look for ingredients, like peptides, that boost collagen production.
Certain treatments — from HydraFacials to biostimulatory fillers to laser resurfacing — all boost collagen production. Our providers can help you choose what treatment is best for you!
When we talk about collagen, elastin is usually also part of the conversation. That’s because the two work in tandem to give our skin a plump, healthy appearance. Elastin’s main function is in its name: elasticity. Like collagen, elastin is a protein naturally found in our body. It allows our skin to maintain its shape and bounce back after it’s been stretched.
Elastin is often compared to a rubber band or springs on a mattress. What would happen if you used the same hair tie every day for a month straight? It loses that stretch, doesn’t it? Over time, our skin stops producing as much elastin and stops bouncing back the way it used to. This is when we start to see sagging skin.
Have you ever taken the skin elasticity test? Let’s do it now. Place the palm of your hand on a flat surface and pinch the skin on the back of your hand for five seconds. How long does it take your skin to go back to its original form? The longer it takes, the less elastin your skin is producing.
As we do with collagen, we can trick our body into producing more elastin through both topicals and treatments. Because every patient’s skincare needs are different, we recommend a consultation to find out what route is right for you to either maintain elasticity or bring it back.
Another thing our skin loses as we age is fat — and not the kind we necessarily want to lose. Lipids are the naturally occurring fats in our skin. The main three epidermal lipids are cholesterol, ceramides and fatty acids. Those should all sound fairly familiar!
Each type of lipid has its own, unique function, but collectively, the three are responsible for strengthening the skin’s barrier — keeping the bad stuff (free radicals) out and the good stuff (moisture and nutrients) in. Lipids also aid in the skin’s natural repair function.
When we lose our lipid production, we often see it in our skin’s texture. It becomes rough, dry, tight and irritated. Topicals are a great way to combat the loss of lipid production.
Here’s a pro tip when looking for the right product: Our skin’s natural lipid composition is a 1:2:1 ratio of ceramides, cholesterol and fatty acids, so products that have a similar composition will be most effective. SkinCeuticals, for example, has a product called Triple Lipid Restore 2:4:2.
You can always schedule a complimentary skincare consultation to find the best product for your individual skincare regimen!
SLOW CELLULAR TURNOVER
Out with the old, and in with the new! That’s how we like our skin cells to function. Our skin cells, like every cell in our body, have a lifespan. When our old cells die, new cells replace them. The problem, as you may have guessed, is that as we age, our cellular turnover begins to slow down. Our natural ability to slough off those dead, dull cells diminishes. If we do nothing to help, we end up with an accumulation of dead cells on the surface of our skin, which affects the appearance and the health of our skin.
Luckily, there are a number of ways to help! Exfoliation is key, and that can be found in the form of scrubs, peels or treatments like microdermabrasion. Retinol is also an important player in cellular turnover. If you want to bring out the big guns, Laser & Skin has nearly every — if not all — notable, non-ablative resurfacing laser available to help. We always recommend a consultation to find out what treatment is best for your individual needs.
Collagen, elastin, and lipid loss, along with slower cellular turnover, are all key members of the intrinsic aging team. These would all occur naturally, no matter our lifestyle choices. However, if we can manage the extrinsic factors, we can also slow the process of physiological aging. Protect yourself from sun exposure and free radicals, avoid smoking, manage your stress, maintain a healthy diet — and you’ll be on the right track for ageless beauty. When you find yourself veering off the path that makes you feel confident and radiant, we, your pioneers, are always here to help!