The ABC’s of Aging Skin

Decades Image for Doc Blog

Learn how your skin ages with each passing decade and what you can do about it!

Another school year is just around the corner.  For some of us, that means back to the rigorous schedule and stress of academia. For others, it’s back to the juggling act of dropping kids off, picking them up, and transporting them to after school activities.  And still for others, our school years are far behind us and we are left reflecting upon memories and, perhaps, laughing over all of those class photos. How has your face changed since those photos were taken?  Your skin?  You will quickly notice that wrinkles are not the ONLY sign of how our appearance changes throughout the chapters of our lives!

“Patients often correlate aging with wrinkles, sagging skin and nothing else,” says Dr. Griffin, Facial Plastic Surgeon with Midwest Facial Plastic Surgery.  “But the reality is that several things contribute to the aging process through the years such as bone loss, facial fat and muscle loss, and collagen breakdown,” he continues.  “As each decade passes, we may notice subtle or dramatic changes in our skin’s quality and our face shape.  It’s important to understand what happens in each decade of life so we know how to prevent the things we can and become educated about solutions for the things we can’t,” shares Dr. Griffin.

Your Twenties 

Collagen and Elastin are the components of our skin that give it spring, bounce and firmness.  These proteins are humming in our Twenties and, along with fat, act like the box spring to your mattress; in this case, the mattress being your skin.  In our Twenties, our collagen and elastin fibers are still replicating and therefore, keep our skin supple, elastic and firm.  At this age, there are minimal signs of aging on your skin unless you have actively abused tanning beds or spent excessive time tanning outdoors. UV damage breaks down collagen and elastin fibers, causes pigment damage, and accelerates aging.

Many men and women experience acne during this chapter of their lives.  As a result, these can be formative years in regards to how we learn to care for our skin.  Our choices and actions at this time can have a dramatic effect on how our skin will appear in the future.  Especially when it comes to lifestyle behaviors such as sun avoidance, smoking and stress.  How you care for your skin in your Twenties can truly dictate what kind of damage you may deal with in your Forties and beyond.

Your Thirties 

“Lines between the eyebrows and around the eyes, uneven skin tone, broken blood vessels and sun spots – these are the most common complaints I hear from my female patients in their Thirties,” says Dr. Christopher Tolan, also a Facial Plastic surgeon with Midwest Facial Plastic Surgery.  “And, not getting carded when they buy alcohol anymore,” he laughs.

There is a saying that it’s in your Thirties when you begin to experience the skin you “deserve. Lifestyle behaviors of your Twenties will manifest in your Thirties.  Sun damage may start to surface along with some loss of elasticity due to UV exposure and a dwindling collagen production.  Hormone related pigmentation issues (melasma) may be present, especially post pregnancy.  Fine lines around the eyes or, Crow’s Feet, may be more noticeable and the worry line between your eyebrows may appear to deepen.

It is in this chapter of our lives in which our collagen and elastin fibers virtually stop reproducing.  In addition, our cellular turnover slows down and our skin may appear drier and duller.  We may start to see the first evidence of fine lines, wrinkles and skin that that has some slight sagging.

“Your Thirties, and even earlier, are a great age to start treating with Botox® and dermal fillers, such as Juvederm®,” advised Dr. Griffin.  “The objective of these treatments is to give subtle rejuvenation, so it is best to fine tune and tweak along the way to attain the most natural results. In addition, laser treatments such as IPL can help remove some of the sun damage that is surfacing.”

Treatments like chemical peels and the new HydraFacial MD®, along with medical skincare that contains retinol, can regulate your cellular turnover and encourage the growth of collagen and elastin and keep your complexion bright.  Serums that contain hyaluronic acid can also restore a dewy and hydrated complexion to parched skin.  To further encourage fresh, new collagen growth, Micro Needling by SkinPen®, is a revolutionary treatment that introduces microscopic injuries to the skin to encourage the healing process which produces more collagen!

Your Forties

At this point in your life, your face starts losing that subcutaneous fat you had so much of in your Twenties.  Your face may appear more sharp and angular.  In addition, this fat loss isn’t lost equally in all areas of the face.

“Although there are variations due to genetics, in general we lose the deep fat pads in the mid-face and those of the temples and the front of the ears first,” says Dr. Tolan. “Then we lose fat around the mouth and chin and along the jawline. It looks like the skin is falling, but actually, it’s more like our faces are deflating.”

“Volume loss and sagging skin are common concerns of our patients in this age category,” shares Dr. Tolan.  “Our faces tend to thin out in our Forties due to fat loss or fat redistribution,” he continues, “this can cause the skin to look saggy and the under-eye area to look hallowed out and gaunt. This is the most common age group that I introduce long lasting and lifting dermal fillers like Voluma® to. Voluma® helps restore volume and lift to the cheek area and temples, while softer fillers can fill in hallows under the eyes and restore definition to your lips.  The objective is to make a patient appear like they did 10 years ago…not alter their appearance all together,” he concludes.

Fifties & Beyond

Our Fifties and especially our Sixties, are when we start to see the aging that directly correlates with bone loss and accelerated facial fat loss.  Our facial bone structure acts like the framework to our skin; it provides lift and height.  When we experience bone loss through areas such as our cheekbones, brow, the bridge of the nose and our jawline, it can appear as though our face has ‘fallen’ or deflated.

“Depending on the severity of the bone loss, this may be the time to go beyond fillers and graduate to more permanent surgical solutions such as a Facelift, or cheek/chin implants to restore lost structure,” says Dr. Griffin.  “A Facelift procedure can re-establish the youthful lift to sagging skin and dermal fillers and implants can replace lost volume, especially to the apples of the cheeks,” he continues.  “Each patient’s aging process is unique due to their genetics and lifestyles, so the way we restore a more youthful appearance must be too!”

Regardless of what chapter of life you are in, all of us have the opportunity to control the environmental factors of aging such as sun exposure, free radical damage from smoking, and stress.  In addition, we live in a day and age in which the cosmetic chemistry behind some of our skincare products can truly enhance the health and appearance of our skin.  Combined with the state of the art services that are now offered through physicians and their extenders, such as chemical peels, laser treatments and injectable such as Botox®…we have more control of our how our skin ages now than in any other time in history.

Interested in partnering with our team to assess your skin and receive your customized anti-aging regimen?  Call (651) 632.9700 to schedule a consultation with one of our Physicians or Licensed Aestheticians!