Did you know that the skin is the largest organ of the body? Skin accounts for over 18% of your body weight and can have a surface area of 1.8 m². Understanding the aging process of your skin is vital when making educated decisions regarding skincare over your lifetime.
Once patients have a good understanding of the aging process of the skin, they will also better understand our treatment recommendations and philosophies at Carolina Facial Plastics in Charlotte.
When Does the Skin Begin to Age?
The skin has three major phases over our lifetime. The first phase of our skin occurs from birth until the approximate age of 10. This time period is described as the healthy phase because the skin is naturally optimized to have its best appearance. At this stage, the skin has not been exposed to environmental stresses, hormonal stresses, or other types of inflammation. Our skin will never look better than during our first 10 years of life.
The second major phase of our skin’s lifecycle is the deterioration phase from the approximate age of 10 to the age of 30. This stage is defined as the skin becomes inflamed secondary to environmental and hormonal changes of the environment. The skin will begin to show textual irregularities, large pores, atrophy, and acne. Technically speaking, the skin begins to age at approximately age 10.
Surprisingly, the last phase of the skin’s lifecycle begins at age 30 and is characterized mainly by inactivity. This third phase is characterized by the slow and steady deterioration of the health and quality of the skin. There are two unique paths of aging skin after age 30 during the inactive phase.
The two unique paths skin will take during the aging process are:
- Biological aging
- Photo aging
Biological aging of skin is the normal aging of skin secondary to time. This type of skin aging is characterized by a lack of sun exposure and damage. Biologically aged skin will become increasingly lax, wrinkled, dry, and thin overtime. Biologically aged skin typically will lack blemishes and sunspots and will be texturally flat. The number one cause of this type of aging is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is secondary to a lifelong attack of the skin from free radicals, which is secondary to metabolism at a cellular basis. For this reason, controlling oxidative stress is one of the most important steps in preventing skin aging in patients who lack photo damage.
At a Cellular Level, What Happens When Skin is Biologically Aged?
When looking at the anatomy of the cells during biological aging, we see a decrease in the amount of collagen and elastic fibers in the skin. This is the main cause of lack of wrinkling in this type of skin aging. There is a loss of fat that will make the face appear hollow. Dryness associated with biological aging is secondary to lower levels of glycosaminoglycan’s and skin.
Photo aged skin is almost the exact opposite of biological aged skin. The main cause of photo aged skin is the continued exposure to UV light. This is directly correlated to the cumulative amount of sun damage the skin has received over one’s lifetime. Photo aged skin can also be caused by other environmental factors and infectious etiologies.
Photo aged skin is characterized by a generalized growth and thickening of skin overtime. This is directly opposite of biological aging skin. Patients with this type of skin will have enlarged glands, skin cancers, thickening skin, visible blood vessels, sunspots, deep wrinkling, and other pigmentary changes.
At a Cellular Level, What is Occurring in Photo Aged Skin?
During photo aging, the skin becomes thicker overtime. The collagen and elastic fibers of the skin become thicker but completely disorganized. This disorganization prevents them from functioning in a normal way. Photo aged skin also shows an increase in melanin that is responsible for the increase in pigmentary issues of this skin type.
Which is Better, Photo Aged Skin or Biologically Aged Skin?
It is clearly understood that patients with photo aged skin appear significantly older than their counterparts with biologically aged skin. This is one of the key foundations we use to help our patients age gracefully. This is why we are constantly stressing to our patients the importance of protecting their skin from UV light with avoidance of sun exposure and use of sunscreens. To learn more about general skin care, please visit WebMD.com.
Are the Treatment Recommendations Different for Biologically Aged Skin Versus Photo Aged Skin?
Treatment recommendations and options will widely differ for patients with photo aged skin versus biologically aged skin.
Remarkable Results, Exceptional Care
Carolina Facial Plastics is founded and directed by double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Dr. Jonathan Kulbersh. As a facial plastic surgeon, he strongly believes in the full understanding and treatment of the aging process of the skin, which is vitally important for him to provide the best results for his patients. Treatments at his office are of medical grade and will ensure the best results for patients. To schedule a consultation for a skin care evaluation and treatment options in Charlotte, please contact us today!
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