We all age. It’s a difficult truth to accept and if you’re anything like me, your internal age doesn’t match up with your actual age or outward appearance. Have you ever wondered why our bodies age? In this post, I’ll talk a bit about why we age, what we can do to slow down the process, and what treatments can help mitigate or reverse some of the signs of aging. After all, everyone wants to feel good AND look good, right?
The Factors of Aging
Why and how do we age? Scientists have discovered that the aging timeline is led by interactions between our genes (what we inherit) and the environment (what we are exposed to), also known as intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Intrinsic aging refers to the natural decline of the condition of your skin. This is predetermined by your genes which means you do not have control over how the process occurs. You can’t predict your experience or outcome based on how your friends age—some people get wrinkles and expression lines in their 30s, others don’t see them show up until much later. But to get some indications of how you might age, you can look at how your parents age. Their genetics have been passed down to you!
Intrinsic aging typically starts in your mid-20s when your body starts decreasing skin cell production of collagen and elastin, the two fibers that are essential for skin elasticity. Less collagen and elastin = less spring in your skin. Around the same time, your skin cells will slow down in regenerating and shedding. Though this intrinsic aging process starts in your 20s, the effects—things like fine lines, pigmentation, or sagging skin—don’t become apparent for decades.
On the flipside, extrinsic aging is due to external factors that affect the condition of your skin. The positive thing about extrinsic aging is that, to some degree, its factors are things you can control.
On the list:
- Sun Exposure We all love a sunny day! Unfortunately, harmful UV rays contribute to premature aging—also called photoaging—by damaging your skin cells and decreasing their ability to produce collagen and elastin. Spider veins? Pigmented spots like freckles or age spots? Loss of skin tone? Wrinkles around the eyes and mouth? Red, rough scaly spots called actinic keratosis? These appear thanks to the sun!
- Alcohol Consumption Unfortunately, some of our indulgences can wreak havoc on our skin. Alcohol can dehydrate our skin which can contribute to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; it also increases inflammation which causes irregular texture and abnormal blood vessels on the face, called telangiectasia.
- Smoking By now, we all know that smoking isn’t good for our bodies, and the same applies to our skin. It constricts the small blood vessels and this inhibits blood flow and oxygen and a decrease in skin elasticity. If you smoke, you might even notice changes in your skin colour or tone.
- Air Pollution Free radicals produced by smog, smoke, exhaust, fluorescent lights, lights from computers or cell phones can break down otherwise healthy skin.
- Poor Diet & Health Inflammation and oxidation damage collagen and elastin—the proteins that give your skin elasticity and strength. How do you avoid these two factors that accelerate skin aging? Eating well and exercising.
- Insufficient Sleep While we sleep, our skin shifts into repair-and-restore mode. It flushes out toxins, repairs damage caused by environmental factors like air pollutants, sloughs off aging cells and generates new ones. In other words, you need sleep to help reduce signs of aging!
Considering the intrinsic and extrinsic factors that lead to aging, you might be left wondering if fine lines, wrinkles, and other signs of aging are avoidable. The answer is yes, to some degree. By using anti-aging treatments, you can combat some aging factors!
You can’t predict your experience or outcome based on how your friends age—some people get wrinkles and expression lines in their 30s, others don’t see them show up until much later.
Let’s Get Physical
Now that we know the factors that contribute to signs of aging, let’s take a look at some of the signs of aging that come as a result of those intrinsic and extrinsic factors.
Here’s a quick list. (Do you see any of these on your own face? I certainly do!)
- Lines on your forehead
- Droopy and hooded brows
- Saggy neckline
- Loss of chin definition
- Hollowed cheeks and eye sockets
- Wrinkling of the skin around the mouth
- Thinning of the lips
I like to use the mattress analogy to explain why these things show up on your face over time. Let’s imagine that your face is like a mattress. It has springs (your facial bones) and padding (fat that wraps around the springs). The sheets and blanket (your skin) sit on top of the springs and padding. As you age, the springs and padding start losing their spring and buoyancy, and the mattress hollows out. The sheets and blanket will wrinkle and follow the hollow contour of the mattress!
Putting the analogy aside, do you know what can be done to reverse or soften the physical signs of aging? Read on.
Aside from controlling extrinsic factors, you can also reverse or soften the physical signs of aging by turning to non-surgical treatments like those offered at Be Beautiful Medical:
- Muscle Relaxers These neuromodulator treatments—like Botox injections—relax the muscles, reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
- Injectable Fillers These treatments help to give you a more natural, refreshed look by replacing volume loss (remember my mattress analogy?), giving structure back to the face, and providing an anchor for the overlying tissue.
- Fat Reduction Treatments These deoxycholic acid injections are meant to improve the appearance of what we call the “double chin”. When fat cells accumulate under the chin, especially as we age, we can lose definition of our neck and jawline. By melting the fat in this area, this treatment can improve and sharpen the profile of your chin and jawline area.
There is emerging evidence that we can prevent certain aging triggers in the face by treating them before the aging actually occurs.
In my practice, the most common patient complaint relates to frown lines between their brows, also known as glabellar lines. My patients are worn down by people asking them if they are upset or angry. After a thorough consultation process, we often turn to muscle relaxers to solve the issue. And guess what? They tell me they feel much better, less tense, and more relaxed. Sometimes they ask: “Is it possible that the treatment made me feel happier?” And the answer is “Yes”! Research shows that treating these glabellar lines can improve mood and may even reduce depression. The same applies to other treatments we offer at Be Beautiful Medical.
Most people come to my clinic because they believe how they look on the outside doesn’t match how they feel on the inside. They feel they look more tired, stressed, angry, saggy, or older than they should. My goal is to help my patients regain their confidence and their spirit. By working with them to regain a natural, refreshed appearance, they walk away feeling happier, more energized, and ready to take on the world!
Have you been searching for ways in which you can combat signs of aging on your face? Be Beautiful Medical offers a range of cosmetic procedures using innovative technologies that can be customized to achieve the results you want. Book one of our free virtual 15-minute consultations to discuss your options directly with Dr. Suess!