When people say someone has skin like a baby, they mean it. Babies are born with soft, unblemished, plump skin and there are few among us who keep it.
The skin is primarily made up of a protein called keratin and on a daily basis through general wear and tear the dead skin cells are sloughed off and replaced by new ones. This process of skin renewal is call keratinisation.
As one gets older and puberty sets in there are a number of hormonal and glandular changes which take place. Teenagers are prone to pimples because of these changes, this however can be treated, with good hygiene, proper diet and regular excercise.
Stress, lack of fresh fruit and vegetables and not enough water can also add to the condition of your skin as a teenager and even into adulthood.
If you survived puberty and think that the good habits you practiced kept your skin acne free, you are probably right. But as you age you may want to stick to those habits. They seem be just as important in the anti-aging process.
As you get older the skin renewal process will slow down and take a little longer than before. Your natural supply of collagen and elastin, those fibres which helped keep you wrinkle free, is diminishing and your skin is no longer as resilient as it was.
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What are wrinkles?
Wrinkles are creases or folds in the skin, mostly visible on the face and neck.
Wrinkles come about as a natural part of the aging process. Age causes collagen and elastin to weaken and the bodies production of these fibres begins to slow down very soon after one turns 20.
What are the chief causes of premature wrinkling?
Too much sun has been credited with being the number on cause of wrinkling. The suns UV rays cause a breakdown of these tissues causing your skin to lose firmness, making it sag and cause wrinkles while you are still young.
Smoking is responsible for a myriad of ailments but as far as the skin goes it is one of the top causes of premature wrinkling. Your blood circulation is affected dramatically through smoking as the oxygen supply to you blood is minimised, causing the blood flow to your skin to be reduced.
The facial expressions one engages when smoking will encourage wrinkle formation around the lips.
Staying hydrated is as important to staying healthy as it is to keeping your skin plumped and healthy looking. Lack of water will cause blood vessels to struggle, and fresh blood will not easily reach your skin. Have you ever seen a para medic pinch the skin on the arm of a patient? This is to see if they are sufficiently hydrated, the skin will jump back quickly but if the skin appears to slide back into place the patient needs hydrating and this may very well be the cause of their malaise.
Poor skin care often goes unnoticed as a cause of wrinkles. Using products which are not intended for your skin will cause it to dry out and washing too often because you feel your skin is oily will disrupt the skins own protective barrier.
What can be done to prevent or remove wrinkles?
Preventing wrinkles is impossible but stemming their premature appearance can be achieved through avoiding those things that cause them
- Stay out of the sun or use a credible sunblock
- Use skincare products formulated for your skin
- If you smoke, stop immediately
- Stay hydrated
- Eat healthily, take in plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Avoid repetitive facial gestures like frowning and squinting
If I have wrinkles what can I do to get rid of them?
Wrinkles will not be removed entirely but there are a number of cosmetic products and procedures which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and aging:
Certain procedures remove dead skin cells in order to encourage skin renewal
Microdermabrasion is the method whereby dead skin cells are removed by shooting fine particles at the skin (aluminium oxide is often used) The skin will be irritated and the process will only have removed surface cells. Microdermabrasion is most effective on the light lines forming on the skin.
More successful with fine lines around the eyes and mouth, a chemical peel is done by applying a chemical solution to the skin causing it to peel and in this way encourage new unwrinkled skin to grow.
This treatment is also effective on sun spots and freckles but does not have any impact on sagging skin or deep wrinkles. Chemical peels vary in strength and with that variation comes escalating recovery times and varying degrees of irritation to the skin. Once the healing is complete the skin will appear completely renewed.
With results that are decidedly longer lasting than microdermabrasion. The laser penetrates deeper and can be used with better precision. Done under a local anaesthetic the laser will cause the skin to dry and fall off leaving you with new skin which you will need to care for with topical creams. The recovery period is usually between one and two weeks, during which time one should stay out of the sun as the new skin will be delicate and requires proper treatment to maintain the appearance of youth.
While there are abrasive treatments which remove the wrinkles from the outside there are also treatments which are equally effective in diminishing the appearance of wrinkles through injection.
Purified Botulinim toxin
What has become a rather popular anti-aging product, is indeed a purified botulinim toxin which diminishes muscle capacity and as a result achieves great results, specifically in areas where wrinkles form as a result of muscle activity, for example frowning and laughing. The effects of such an injection are visible for up to three months.
Collagen is used as soft tissue filler. It is artificial collagen which is injected into the edge of a wrinkle which fills out the line. Allergic reactions do occasionally occur so it is a good idea to request a skin test to make sure you are compatible with the collagen. Expect the results to last for approximately three months.
With results that last for up to a year hyaluronic acid is a sugar based filler for wrinkles. It is not as soft as collagen and so is more effective on frown lines and parts of the face that are a little harder than lips and eyes. It can be used as a filler for lips but a few days worth of swelling can be expected.
Gaining the maximum benefit from any of these treatments is very much the same as preventing premature signs of aging and will require you to abide by a few basic rules or lifestyle adjustments
- Avoid excessive sunlight
- Use a sunblock at all times
- Stop smoking
- Drink plenty of water
- Adopt a healthy diet with fresh fruit and vegetables