The process of aging can bring with it a range of changes in our skin, making us look fatigued and anxious, or sometimes even older than we are. But with the knowledge, technology, and techniques that are available today, it is much easier to take anti-aging measures. Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Naomi Brooks advises her patients on both self-care and professional treatment options for anti-aging at her Boise-based practice.
Self-care anti-aging treatment options
The goal with any anti-aging skincare regimen is to have natural, healthy appearing skin.
A skincare regimen should be as simple as possible: one that can be incorporated into daily life and is tailored to one’s unique skin type. Some people have more sensitive skin, some are prone to dryness, and some have more acne-prone skin. Of course, our skin profile is subject to change as we age, making it important to re-assess and make sure our regular skincare is right for our skin at any point in time, with the appropriate anti-aging measures taken.
The most important step in any anti-aging
Sunscreen can be applied as a single product or incorporated into your daily moisturizer or make-up. Sunscreen should be applied every day, all year round, on sunny and cloudy days, and even if you work indoors, as UV rays will penetrate through clouds and windows. If you do plan to be outdoors, remember that sunscreen applied in the morning does not last, making reapplication necessary.
Sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours, and after sweating or swimming. Broad-brimmed hats provide further benefit, as they shade the entire face as well as the nose, ears, and neck. Some people suggest wearing gloves when driving to protect the hands from damaging rays through the car windshield.
Retinoids are topical creams derived from vitamin A. Tretinoin is a prescription-strength retinoid that is FDA-approved for the anti-aging treatment of fine lines and wrinkles.
A retinoid will help increase collagen production, improving skin texture. It also acts to remove dead skin cells, which will help fade brown spots and exfoliate clogged pores. Apply as a thin layer (pea-sized amount) to the entire face at bedtime, followed by a moisturizer. It is effective for all skin types, and there are gentle formulations tailored for sensitive skin. If sensitivity occurs, using the product three to four nights per week should allow the skin to tolerate it without the irritation.
No matter your age or skin concern, regular tretinoin use is a top skincare recommendation for radiant, healthy skin of all ages. Note, however, that tretinoin may not be suitable for use during pregnancy.
Through the aging process, the skin makes less natural oils and reduces in volume and elasticity, causing it to appear dry and wrinkled.
Moisturizers trap water in the skin, plumping skin cells and smoothing fine lines. Additionally, they help form a protective skin barrier from irritancy. Anti-aging moisturizers should be applied morning and night to keep the skin healthy.
As we age, our natural antioxidant defenses are depleted. Topically applied antioxidants can be very anti-aging, help repair the skin, and protect the skin from damage.
Environmental factors such as UV light, pollution, and cigarette smoke exposes the skin to free radicals, which damage the skin and cause wrinkles. Topical antioxidants are thought to quench free radicals to prevent and repair the damage.
Topical vitamin C lotion is a common antioxidant recommended in the morning for daily protection and anti-aging, along with the application of moisturizer and sunscreen.
Professional or dermatological options for anti-aging
For comprehensive anti-aging that corrects the appearance of fine lines, sun damage, spots, and more, chemical peels and microdermabrasion can remove outer layers of skin so that newer, smoother skin regenerates.
When it comes to wrinkle treatments, one of the factors a trained dermatologist will consider in providing treatment is what type of facial wrinkle is to be addressed. Broadly, wrinkles can be divided into dynamic wrinkles, static wrinkles, and wrinkle folds.
The contraction of facial muscles attached to the overlying skin can cause dynamic wrinkles, as each contraction causes the skin to bunch together and form lines. An anti-aging neuromodulator such as BOTOX Cosmetic & Dysport can temporarily weaken the muscles and prevent their contraction, to diminish the appearance of dynamic wrinkles.
Static wrinkles can occur due to environmentally caused damage, smoking, poor nutrition, genetics, or prolonged dynamic wrinkling, while wrinkle folds are typically due volume loss in the skin and the inevitable sagging that follows. Hyaluronic acid dermal fillers can be particularly effective in anti-aging, filling in lost volume and smoothing static wrinkles and folds.
For additional tips on how to keep your skin healthy at any point in your life, refer to our tip sheet on skincare for every age.