If you have been avoiding the mirror lately, and wince when you do look because of increasing fine lines, wrinkles and sagging skin around your mouth and neck, you are probably ready to try some anti-aging skin care treatments. Besides improving the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and sagging skin, anti-aging products can also help with brown spots and dark under-eye circles. Most of these products and treatments work in a matter of days or weeks with minimal effort on your part. They don’t work miracles, but hey, every little bit can help!
Why Does Your Skin Age?
The reason aging skin wrinkles and sags is because of a structural breakdown inside the skin. Many treatments effectively turn back the aging process by stimulating collagen growth. The most effective treatments for improving your skin’s appearance use topical retinoic acid, carbon dioxide laser resurfacing or injections of hyaluronic acid, according to the University of Michigan Health System.
What is Collagen?
To understand how collagen works and why it is important, you can compare it to a mattress, says Dr. John J. Voorhees, chair of the Department of Dermatology at the University of Michigan Medical School. Your outer layer of skin is the sheet, and your inner collagen layer is the mattress. When collagen is young, it is firm, like a new mattress. But, when collagen gets older, it loses structure similar to a mattress that gets flatter in places. Collagen-building treatments help build the collagen back up.
Based on a 2007 study, which the National Institutes of Health funded, Restylane injections promoted new collagen and limited the breakdown of existing collagen. Lotions that contain retinol, from vitamin A, significantly reduce wrinkles and rough skin by promoting new collagen. Some laser treatments work, and some do not. Carbon dioxide laser resurfacing removes the aging skin, and in the regrowth process, your skin produces new collagen.
If you choose to use retinoids, found in lotions, you must be careful in the sun. Always use a sunscreen because retinoids make it easier for your skin to burn. Your skin may be itchier and dryer after using these products. You can get retinoids by prescription or over-the-counter. Prescription retinoids have a higher concentration of the active ingredient. You will probably have better results with prescription lotions, but they are harder on your skin. If you want to try an over-the-counter lotion, pick one that contains retinol, alpha hydroxy acid, coenzyme Q10, kinetin, copper peptides or one with antioxidants.
Removing Outer Layer of Skin
Surgical treatment options are available as well. Dermabrasion sands down your surface layer of skin so that a new layer will grow back. You will be red, scabby and swell for about two weeks after this procedure. Microdermabrasion removes less skin than a dermabrasion does. This method uses a vacuum suction to remove the skin. You will only be slightly red with this procedure, but you will need repeated treatments to maintain the results, according to MayoClinic.com. A chemical peel also burns off your skin’s outer layer so that new skin will grow back. After a series of peels, besides improving the appearance of wrinkles, some of your brown spots should fade.
Talk to Your Doc
Remember, you don’t need to try and look like a twenty-something. You’ve been there, done that (and who really wants to go back?). Natural beauty is what it’s all about. But, if you feel insecure about your skin or want to try something new, always consult with your doctor.