A nurse aesthetician’s guide to aging gracefully!
Aging is inevitable and unstoppable. Your ultimate goal is to age gracefully and not appear fake or artificial. Remember, no one wants to age! And while it is impossible to stop or reverse the aging process, you can do things to slow changes and have your healthiest skin at every stage in life. I challenge you to embrace your age and focus on mitigating damage for timeless, healthy, glowing skin!
There are 2 types of aging
1. Intrinsic aging- these are internal factors and usually you have little to no control over them. These are things like time, genetics, day to day motions like smiling or squinting. In fact, after the age of 20, you naturally lose about 1% of collagen each year.
2. Extrinsic aging- These are usually things that can be controlled. Extrinsic factors account for about 85% of aging and are triggered by things that create inflammation.
Things like UVA and UVB exposure (the #1 contributor to aging), smoking, pollution, stress, alcohol consumption, poor diet, high sugar intake and dehydration.
At every age we can choose healthy habits to prevent extrinsic aging effects and improve overall heath. Here is a brief list of things you can do to protect yourself from extrinsic factors. Avoid or quit smoking. Try to minimize exposure to pollution. Protect yourself from the sun and stay away from tanning beds. Decrease your stress level and get plenty of physical activity. Eat a healthy diet full of healthy fats, proteins, whole grains and lots and lots of fruits and vegetables. Avoid alcohol and refined sugar. Get enough sleep. I will go in depth on some of these topics in future blog posts.
A quick note about Colorado climate and skin health: Since sun damage is the number 1 contributor to premature aging it's important to remember that here in denver we are a mile high where the air is thinner, drier and the sun shines almost everyday of the year. We all love our outdoor activities. But in this climate, it is so so important for us to protect and nourish our skin. Here, you can see the damage from the sun much earlier in your skin than other parts of the country. So please, if you live in Colorado, its time to get serious about skin health and protection from this major extrinsic factor.
So what does aging look like through our lifespan and what can we do about it?
Late-teens to mid-twenties
Whats happening: You have supple glowing, plump skin. Possible acne, any lines at this age are usually due to your genetics.
Focus on: Prevention, maintenance, creating good habits and protection.
At home products: Daily Sunblock, use topical antioxidants, light moisturizer, exfoliate with alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) or beta hydroxy acid (BHA).
Professional treatments: Once a month a maintenance facial.
Mid-twenties to mid-thirties
Whats happening: Fine lines around your mouth and eyes may appear. Hormonal acne can occur. Sun damage may start appearing. Your skin may start looking dull since cell turnover is beginning to slow.
Focus on: Prevention, protection and repairing.
At home products: Daily sunblock or sunscreen, topical antioxidants, peptides, medium to light moisturizer, start low dose retinol or vitamin A product, continue using AHA or BHA products, start a eye cream with caffeine. Exfoliation treatmet 1-2 times per week.
Professional treatments: Once every 4-6 weeks have a professional exfoliation treatment. Consider superficial microneedling to build collagen. You may begin getting small amounts of botox and or filler and possible laser treatments for prevention.
Mid-thirties to mid-forties
Whats happening: Natural oil production starts to decline. Tone and volume change around the eyes. Your wrinkles start to deepen. Sun damage will become more noticeble. The combo of sun damage, extrinsic factors and genetics starts to break down collagen and elastin and you can notice the effects.
Focus on: Correction and prevention, exfoliation and regeneration.
Home care: Daily sunscreen or sunblock, medium moisturizer, retinol or vitamin A product, continue using AHA or BHA products, start using skin brightening products, collagen stimulators, and topical antioxidants. Specifically a good vitamin c serum. Start using a heavier eye cream. Do regular at home exfoliation treatments 1-3 times per week.
Professional treatments: At least 4 to 6 weeks have a professional exfoliation treatment or custom facial. Deeper microneedling for more collagen production. Consider regular botox and filler. You may begin regular skin tightening and laser treatments. Some may opt for surgery.
Mid-forties to mid-fifties
Whats happening: Wrinkles around your eyes and nose deepen. Skin begins to sag. Your skin loses plumpness and tone and becomes drier. Skin growths or abnormalities may appear.
Focus on: Hydration, correction, plumping and nurturing.
Home care: Daily sunscreen or sunblock, heavier moisturizer, retinol or vitamin A product, continue using AHA or BHA products, use regular stronger skin brightening products, and collagen stimulators. Use a good at home exfoliation treatment 2-3 times per week. Opt for a serum that is high in antioxidants.
Professional treatments: At least 4 to 6 weeks have professional exfoliation and/or collagen inducing treatment (deeper microneedling), or treatments to help plump such as ultrasonic. Regular botox, filler, and laser treatments may be needed. Some may opt surgery. You may require advanced treatments to remove growths or abnormalities that start to appear.
Mid fifties and beyond
Whats happening: Lines and wrinkles deepen dramatically, dry skin and sensitive skin are prevalent. Skin thins and is delicate.
Focus on: Hydration, soothing and brightening.
Home care: Daily sunscreen or sunblock, heavier moisturizer that improves barrier function, retinol or vitamin A product and AHA or BHA products, regular skin brightening products, collagen stimulators, and strong topical antioxidants.
Professional treatments: At least 4 to 6 weeks have professional service that not only exfoliates or induces collagen, but also hydrates and plumps. Regular botox, filler, and laser treatments may be needed. Some may opt for surgery.
It is important to talk to your nurse aesthetician about what home products are best for you and your skin goals at every stage. This way you can work together to create the perfect personalized skincare regimen. In addition, discuss what professional treatments are recommended. There are many options and technology keeps expanding. Everyone's skin care needs and concerns are different and it is best to work with a professional to decide exactly what treatment is best for your individual needs.
Wojak, Terri. Aesthetics Exposed mastering skincare in a medical setting and beyond. 2014, Allured Publishing Corporation. Pages 129-143.