Everyone would like to stop the process of skin aging in its tracks. But, short of being a vampire who doesn’t age and who never goes out in the sun, good luck. To better understand skin aging it helps to better understand your skin. So, here’s a little Skin 101 from Dr. Lavey and his team.
Your skin consists of three layers — the epidermis, the dermis, and the subcutaneous tissue. The epidermis is the skin’s surface. It is rich in keratin and provides protection against the elements and water. The epidermis is where dead skin cells are shed and where melanin (a dark pigment that is responsible for skin color) is found. The dermis is thicker than the epidermis. It is made up of nerves, fats, blood vessels, elastin, and collagen fibers. Elastin and collagen provide support and elasticity to the skin. The subcutaneous layer is composed of fat. It keeps us warm and holds our internal organs in place.
The aging process
The aging process, which spares no one, is called intrinsic aging. After age 20, one percent less collagen is produced in the dermis each year. Also those collagen and elastin fibers become thicker, more clumped, and looser, making our skin more inelastic and brittle and then allowing wrinkling and sagging.
When we hit our 20s, our skin exfoliates at a 28% lower rate, allowing dead skin cells to accumulate and stick together. In our 30s, less moisture is transferred from the dermis to the epidermis. Plus, fat cells begin to shrink. This combination of effects makes the skin look dull and thin. The 40s bring a total halt in collagen production, and the collagen and elastin fibers break, thicken, clump, and lose their flexibility. This allows more wrinkles and lines to form. Finally, in our 50s the skin becomes dry. It is easily bruised, damaged, or broken because sebaceous glands have decreased and can’t provide the same amount of oil to the epidermis. Menopause and its decrease in estrogen levels also leave the skin drier, thinner, less toned, and more sensitive.
And that’s only the stuff you can’t do a thing about! But at least that gives you a little feel for what happens to everyone. No matter how healthy you are, these intrinsic aging factors happen.
Extrinsic aging — what you can affect
The other type of aging is known as extrinsic. Extrinsic aging can be controlled because it is due to the impact of the environment on our skin. The effects of extrinsic aging are a thickening of the outmost layer of the epidermis, called the cornified layer. Also, extrinsic aging is behind precancerous growths, skin cancer, age spots and freckles. Sun damage also leads to more loss of collagen and elastin.
What can you do? You can protect your skin with sunscreen rated at least SPF 35 and protecting against both UVA and UVB rays. You can use anti-aging creams with Retin-A.
And you can come to Dr. Lavey’s practice for both surgical and non-surgical treatments of your aging issues. Whether it’s a facelift to make up for the lack of collagen or Botox injections to fight dynamic wrinkles, we make it our business to help you fight the effects of aging. Give us a call at 925-820-3633 and let’s talk.