Whether we like it or not, getting wrinkles on our face seems to be a fact of life. But aside from what happens naturally, you can take action to keep younger-looking skin longer.
According to Stella Patten M.D., a Marshfield Clinic dermatologist, the major signs of facial aging are sagging skin, caused by volume loss to the face, and wrinkles, freckling, sunspots, and uneven skin tone and texture.
What factors can age your face?
Two preventable factors standout.
“Significant exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun or indoor tanning and smoking are the two worst things you can do to your skin,” she said. “Aging skin from smoking also shows more in women than men.”
Smoking reduces blood flow through the skin’s small blood vessels resulting in wrinkled, older looking skin.
The sun’s ultraviolet B rays, the burning rays, and ultraviolet A rays, which can travel through window glass to penetrate the skin, can decrease the skin’s immune function. This causes DNA damage at the cellular level and elastin and collagen breakdown. Collagen is a protein in the body that keeps the skin’s structure. Freckling, sunspots, blood vessel blotchiness, irregular texture, sagging and wrinkles can result, as well as, precancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
Tanning beds and sun exposure can produce similar affects and may be slightly worse. They use ultraviolet A rays, which go deeper into the skin compared to ultraviolet B rays and are more intense because exposure occurs in less time.
Stress and lack of sleep also can affect how your skin looks and ages.
Tips to keep your face looking young
Dr. Patten offers many healthy ways you can add to your daily routine to keep your face looking younger:
- Eat fruits and vegetables. These foods can improve the color of skin.
- Wear sunscreen, sunblock and lip block.
- Stop using tanning beds.
- Wear sun protective clothing and hats.
- Reduce stress and get enough rest.
- Quit smoking as soon as possible.
Moisturize with face lotion to reduce skin dryness. Some products include alpha hydroxy acids and vitamin A-based creams that reduce wrinkles and improve complexion and color.
Other treatments requiring a dermatologist’s expertise include prescription creams, injectable fillers, Botox, lasers, light treatments, chemical peels and microdermabrasion. These treatments can help improve problems like superficial blood vessels called “spider veins,” and skin color, pigmentation, tone and texture by inducing new collagen production. Most of these treatments are available at Marshfield Clinic.
Although aging skin is a natural part of life, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to start healthy habits to improve the skin’s appearance for a younger more natural look.