As we age, the skin loses its elasticity due to the loss of collagen and elastin. In addition, your skin becomes thinner and loses it's natural fullness. This can cause sagging skin, and when combined with fine lines and wrinkles, can cause crepiness. We often think of anti-aging as a strictly cosmetic concern, however, the cumulative effect of sun and exposure to environmental toxins and stresses, can cause brown spots and pre-cancers to form.
Some characteristics of our skin and how quickly it ages are genetic, and something we can do little to change. However, much of what we perceive as unattractive signs of aging is actually premature aging of the skin as a result of environment, lifestyle, and skincare.
A now famous article in the New England Journal of Medicine
(https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMicm1104059) demonstrated how important environmental factors are in preventing the signs of premature aging (April 19, 2012 N Engl J Med 2012; 366:e25 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMicm1104059). The gentleman pictured here was a trucker that drove a delivery truck for 28 years, and found to have a much greater degree of sun damage on his left side, where his face would be exposed to the sun while driving.
The good news is that there are quite a few treatments available to assist you in preventing and maintaining a skin appearance that is not just more youthful, but more healthy as well!
Any good anti-aging strategy will begin with preventative care. And what does a good preventative care strategy start with? Sun protection of course!
Sun protection and taking sun precautions are essential to prevent the first signs of aging. This is the single most important step to take, as it also provides protection against skin cancer. Sun protection is not just sunscreen, but has to do with making smart choices as to sun exposure. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), suggests limiting sun exposure between the hours of 10am and 2pm. However, in Hawaii, it would be wise to extend those hours further. Plan your most exposed activities outside this timeframe. And if you do find yourself enjoying our beautiful Hawaiian weather during the peak hours or even outside those hours, use these strategies to protect yourself:
Seek shade when possible. If no shade is available, such as at the beach, try to umbrellas or pop-up tents when permitted or feasible.
Cover up to minimize exposure. Wear wide-brimmed hats that shade ears, neck, and décolletage. Use sleeves to cover forearms where short sleeves don't reach. And use glasses to protect against damaging rays around the eyes.
Wear Sunscreen! Make sure to apply a good coat of sunscreen prior to enjoying the outdoors. SPF 30 or above is recommended. Hawaii is the first state to ban the sale of sunscreens containing chemicals harmful to the coral reefs. This will go into effect in 2021. Know that reef safe doesn't mean sunscreen free. There are a variety of sunscreens available that are reef safe which we have been already carrying for years. Your provider can help you determine which sunscreen is best for your risks of skin cancer, your lifestyle, and skin type.
Skin Care Routine
Your skin care routine can be an important part of anti-aging protection. In addition to choosing and using the right sunscreen, there are other products that can be a simple addition to your regimen, and help to protect your skin. This would include:
Moisturizers - As your skin ages, it loses its elasticity and becomes drier. As a result, the fine lines and wrinkles become more noticeable. The use of a good moisturizer can keep your skin looking hydrated and glowing.
Don't forget the lips!
Healthy Lifestyle, Healthy Skin!
Other lifestyle factors can affect your skin. A healthy diet, good sleep and regular exercise go great lengths for the health of our skin.
Our preventative treatments will vary depending on whether there is a specific medical concern in the form of pre-cancers.