Board-certified dermatologist Dr. Jaime Davis, M.D., F.A.A.D. of Uptown Dermatology in Minneapolis talks dermatologic care for your skin at every age.
Skin cancer is a concern across all ages and is being seen more and more in younger people, especially among those who have ever used tanning beds.
Excessive ultraviolet light exposure, natural or artificial, not only increases skin cancer risk, but also prematurely ages the skin. It does so by breaking down the skin’s collagen and elastin causing wrinkling.
Ultraviolet light also stimulates pigment production (tanning), which is the skin’s way of trying to protect its deeper layers from the damaging effects of UV rays (burning). This pigment can often be blotchy and irregular.
With that in mind, it’s easy to see that many skin conditions typically thought of as “age related” are actually “sun damage” related. And while sun damage typically increases with age, giving some truth to the idea that blotchy, wrinkled skin is ‘old’ skin, sun protected skin will stay younger looking even into old age. Proof; take a peek at the sun protected skin of the buttocks and compare this to the face or forearms. The skin is the same age, but has had vastly different sun exposure. Hence the sun exposed skin seems “aged” in comparison.
Now let’s look at some conditions that can affect your skin over the years. Be sure to visit a Board Certified Dermatologist if you have concerns about any of the following;
20s – 30s
Melasma: This blotchy brown spots on upper lip, cheeks, and forehead is sometimes called the “mask of pregnancy” due to hormonal influences on pigment production. This can happen during pregnancy or while on birth control pills. Sun protection is an essential part of treatment which can also include skin lightening agents such as topical hydroquinone and retinoid creams. For stubborn melasma, laser treatments can be helpful in addition to topical medications.
Acne Rosacea: Best known as “adult acne” this can involve breakouts and facial flushing in response to triggers such as sun exposure, overheating, spicy foods, red wine, and stress. Daily sun protection helps minimize redness as does recognizing and minimizing triggers. Your doctor has several treatment options if these initial steps are not enough to stop the breakouts and flushing.
40s – 50s
Fine lines & Wrinkles: Ultraviolet light slowly breaks down collagen and elastin fibers and reduces the skin’s elasticity. Sun protection is key to preventing this, but use of topical vitamin C, peptides and retinoids can be helpful. Resurfacing treatments such as chemical peels or fractional laser peels are also effective.
Expression Lines: Over the years expression lines can become etched into the skin by the repeated movements of facial muscles. These are easily remedied by injecting small amounts of purified botulinum toxin protein to soften the pull of the muscles. Chronic sun damage tends to exaggerate these expression lines due to the loss of the sun damaged skin’s elasticity.
60s – 70s
Brown Spots: Freckles & spotty discoloration of the skin are caused by long term sun exposure. These are sometimes called ‘liver spots’ due to their brown color. Sunscreen is the best prevention, but treatments similar to those mentioned for Melasma can be very helpful.
Dryness: The hormonal changes during and after menopause can result in reduced facial oil production and dryness of the skin. Cream based moisturizers rather than lotions are most helpful.
Facial Volume Loss: Over time, the apples of the cheeks can lose their roundness, especially in slender women. The sunken facial appearance can be corrected with injections of volumizing fillers, such as Sculptra or Radiesse. These fillers stimulate collagen production under the skin restoring a natural fullness.
Disclaimer: The information provided by Coolibar and its contributors is general skin care information and should not be a substitute for obtaining medical advice from your physician and is not intended to diagnose or treat any specific medical problem.