One of the most common complaints that comes to Dr. Lanzer from his patients as a specialist dermatologist is, “How do I keep my skin looking fresh and young?” With today’s lifestyle, pollution, and other aging factors, the goal to keep a smoother and fresh skin is something that many people desire. Unfortunately, the complaint about losing that fresh clean skin is one of the most common problems that Dr. Lanzer hears about in his dermatology clinic.
Looking in the mirror this morning you noticed something worrying. Were those crease lines around your mouth? Or were those frown lines between the eyebrows? Here are some tips to keep those aging signs at bay and keep your skin looking youthful and rejuvenated. The skin is a most vital organ in that it protects the many underlying structures. As such, caring for the skin is an advisable, if not necessary, task. Additionally, by taking care of your skin you can prevent premature wrinkles and keep the skin looking young and rejuvenated. Fresh-looking skin can be maintained by following a handful of worthwhile tips that range from an overall healthy lifestyle, to proper skin cleansing and moisturisers, and perhaps most importantly, minimizing sun exposure.
Maintaining a healthy routine contributes to young-looking skin. A healthy lifestyle, which is necessary to keep the skin rejuvenated, has many components including staying fit, proper nutrition and hydration, not smoking, and getting enough sleep. The first positive action to take is to stay fit and exercise often. The reason for this is twofold. Firstly, while exercising, more oxygen is produced which assists in the production of collagen which is what allows for skin elasticity. Another positive result of exercise is that it reduces stress levels in the body. Increased stress levels have a negative affect on your skin. When the body is tense, the stress hormones cause the skin’s collagen to be broken down which in turn leads to wrinkles and skin aging. As such, exercising often reduces stress levels and thereby reduces the breakdown of the collagen, leaving you with a more smooth and elastic skin surface.
Also part of healthy lifestyle is to eat right and drink sufficient amount of water. By making healthy food choices, your skin will do well as it is receiving the appropriate nutrition it needs. Even more important is to hydrate yourself properly. Drinking enough water leaves the skin hydrated which allows for the natural oils found in the skin to remain in place. These oils are fundamental in keeping the skin looking fresh and wrinkle-free. When not enough oil is present, the skin begins to dry and tighten up which eventually leads to wrinkling. On the same topic of sensible drinking habits, an important tip is to cut back on excess alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol can dehydrate the skin which leaves it looking dry and old.
Next, smoking has a significant negative affect on the skin. Multiple studies have been done which show that the more someone smokes the greater impact it has on skin aging. Just by smoking, not only is the collagen in the skin broken down, but also the production of collagen is decreased. Another negative aspect of smoking is the exposure of the skin to extra heat. This extra heat damages the skin, particularly on the face. Additionally, certain behaviors exhibited by smokers, such as frequent and recurring facial movements brought about by smoking (i.e. eye-squinting or puckered lips), can bring on premature skin aging.
Lastly, sufficient sleep also contributes to keeping the skin looking young. By getting enough sleep, you won’t have tired looking skin and you’ll prevent those ‘lack-of-sleep’ bags which form quickly under the eyes. Thus, following healthy habits can keep your skin looking youthful.
The next general guideline to keep your skin looking young applies to proper cleansing of the skin, particularly the face. Appropriate washing of the skin followed by application of a moisturiser will keep the skin rejuvenated and smooth in texture. It is very important to keep the skin clean thereby ridding the skin of dirt and bacteria that accumulate which have a negative effect on the skin. The key time to cleanse the face is prior to bedtime. Going to sleep with a ‘dirty’ face can have a negative effect on the skin as the bacteria will be sitting there for an extended period of time and can penetrate the skin. Remember though not to over-wash the skin or use water that is too hot. Too much water will remove the skin’s natural oils, thereby drying the skin out and resulting in peeling/wrinkled looking skin.
As such, it is imperative, following face washing, to apply a moisturiser which will re-supply the skin with oils that it may have lost in the cleansing process. A suitable moisturiser should be used depending on the type of skin you have. For skin that tends to be oily, use of water-based moisturisers would be wise (as opposed to those that are oil-based). If your skin is generally on the dry side, stay away from alcohol-based products. A smart choice would be alpha hydroxy acid cleansers and toners which are helpful as they have a reparative action on the different layers on the skin. Additionally, one can apply an anti-aging cream which may help, though studies have proven that its effects are not too long lasting. These creams which are moisturisers may contain various ingredients which work on the skin in different ways. Some of these effective ingredients include: vitamin C, anti-oxidants, chemical peels, argireline, retinol, and epidermal growth factor among others. Dr. Lanzer has done a tremendous amount of research into looking at the effects of creams on the skin. These are called cosmeceuticals. Vitamin A and vitamin C are particularly effective. The vitamin C is known as a strong anti-oxidant and can help heal the skin. One of the newest interests in cosmeceuticals is the DNA repair enzymes. These creams will become a common factor in many creams of the future.
Finally and perhaps most importantly is proper sun skin protection. This point cannot be emphasised enough as it is highly significant in maintaining young looking skin. Many studies point out that though all these other tips are important in keeping your skin fresh and rejuvenated, the lack of skin protection from the sun, will not allow the other steps to be sufficiently effective. Though one may not realise, sun exposure over time is what leads to the common signs of aging skin, that of wrinkles and aging spots. Overexposure to the sun, without sufficient protection, can cause the skin to age prematurely with skin creases, wrinkles, and sagging skin. The strong UV rays projected by the sun break down the skin’s connective tissue, collagen, which in turn causes the skin to lose its elasticity and strength. The aging spots are also caused by increased sun exposure which leads to an increase in pigmentation in particular areas.
Now that the importance of sun protection has been highlighted, here are some smart ways to protect your skin from the strong rays of the sun. Avoiding the sun at its peak strength is the smartest idea if it can be implemented. The sun rays are the strongest between 10 AM and 4 PM. Avoiding the sun during these hours is a great way to prevent skin damage from the sun. Should you need to go out during these hours, it is best to cover up. Firstly, be sure to protect your skin with sunscreen. You should apply sunscreen that offers protection of at least 30 SPF. It should be applied half an hour prior to going out. If you will be swimming or sweating a lot, you should reapply it every 2 hours. Also, don’t forget to wear clothing which provides sufficient protection. Be sure to wear longer sleeves and longer pants or skirts (yes, I know this makes you hotter!) This would also include wearing clothing from fabrics that are woven more tightly, sun hats which shield the face and neck all around, and sunglasses which have UV protection.
There are many different types of sunblocks. For many years, only a 15+ sunblock was available. Today there are 50+ sunblocks. Dr. Lanzer is not convinced that total avoidance of sun is necessary as the best for one’s skin. Certainly, some forms of UV light may in fact be helpful for the body and will prevent other diseases related to vitamin D. Logic would suggest that the best sun to avoid would be the strong sun in the middle of the day. Makeup is the most effective form of sunblock as it is a physical barrier.
Keeping all these suggestions in mind will surely keep your skin looking young and fresh. You may have even been imagining those crease lines. So just follow these tips and you’ll be doing your best to keep those wrinkles away.
One cannot choose one’s genetics, but genetics do play a major role in how the skin ages, both in general aging and from sun-induced aging. There is a significant difference between how different types of skin age. Fair skin ages much more easily, as the sun can penetrate the skin, whereas an olive-skinned person may have years of sun with very little aging. Also, the fair skin tends to get finer wrinkles particularly around the mouth and eyes, and more easily develops pigmented spots which are a clear sign of aging. One of the biggest complaints that Dr. Lanzer sees in his dermatology practice is pigmentation on the cheeks both in patients who are fair and in olive-skinned patients. He will approach these with fading lotions and glycolic peels and eventually will use lasers such as RevLite. A common complaint amongst patients is that they would like an immediate treatment. In olive skinned patients, Dr. Lanzer would usually prefer to go slowly to try and prevent any further complications.