Skin Aging and Anti-Aging – Boston Plastic Surgery Specialists

Before and after 6 decades of face skin aging

Before and after 6 decades of face skin aging

What is skin aging?

Skin aging is defined by the visible changes that occur in the structure and appearance of the skin as we grow older. Aging skin changes occur on the surface of the skin called the epidermis, in the deeper skin layer call the dermis and in the fat beneath the skin called the subcutaneous fat. Aged skin lacks a fresh, young looking, moist, plump glowing appearance.

  • Surface skin aging changes to the epidermis include dry, thin, skin that is more fragile and more easily damaged. In addition the surface of old skin shows wrinkles, lines, age spots, sun spots, brown spots, and red spots.
  • Deep skin aging changes to the dermis cause loose, sagging, excess skin. The most important deep skin or dermal age change is loss of skin elasticity. Skin elasticity refers to the ability of the skin to snap back and tighten after the skin is moved or pulled. The microscopic changes that cause loss of elasticity in old skin are called solar elastosis because they are caused by the sun.
  • Skin fat loss with aging causes loss of skin volume or plumpness. It is like letting air out of a balloon. When the skin fat dissolves the skin holding the fat deflates, sags and the old face looks hollow or gaunt. Skin fat loss or volume loss contributes to deep facial lines like the nasolabial lines, marionette lines, brow sag, jowls and skin folds.

What causes skin aging?

The major cause of skin aging is loss of skin collagen caused by sun damage, but lifestyle, stress, environmental toxins and genetics also play a role. The ultraviolet rays or UV rays of the sun destroy collagen in the skin. The second major factor causing aging skin appearance is fat loss, but we do not understand why we lose fat in the face when we seem to gain fat elsewhere in the body with age. The third important cause of skin aging is our repeated facial movements caused by the muscles of facial expression over a lifetime. The repeated facial movements create what are called dynamic facial lines or dynamic wrinkles such as frown lines, worry lines, crow’s feet, nasolabial fold lines, and smile lines.

When will I see skin aging in my face?

How early skin aging changes occur depends on many things. Fair or light skin ages more quickly than darker skin, and your heredity and sun exposure are very important factors. The first signs of skin aging can occur in the late 20s or early 30s when we begin to see a few lines and skin changes around the eyes which appear as crow’s feet when we smile. In our 40s and 50s we begin to see the effects of fat loss or loss of facial volume. Fat loss causes sagging skin, loss of skin plumping and we lose the apple cheeks of youth. In our 60s and 70s loss of elasticity is greater and we see more sagging loose skin, wrinkles, facial lines, tear troughs, and dynamic lines.

The goal of modern skin anti-aging rejuvenation treatments is to prevent these aging changes and reverse ones that have already occurred.

How do I prevent skin aging?

The most important skin aging prevention is sun block, sun avoidance, and avoiding the use of tanning beds. However, a more complete list of skin aging prevention techniques is:

  • Wear sun block and avoid tanning salons
  • Do not smoke
  • Eat healthy- low fat, complex carbohydrate, high colorful vegetable diet
  • Exercise and stay fit
  • Do not drink excessive alcohol
  • Reduce stress-yoga and exercise
  • Take antioxidant vitamins including Vitamins A, C, E and Fish Oil
  • Do whatever it takes to make you feel happy
  • Try to fulfill Maslow’s Basic Human Needs: Safety, Connectedness and Purpose, for without fulfillment of these life is difficult, stress is higher and aging will accelerate.

Modern Anti-Aging Treatments for Skin/Non-Surgical Rejuvenation

What is non-surgical anti-aging skin rejuvenation?

To rejuvenate means to make young or youthful again. Anti-aging skin rejuvenation means using proven medical skin care techniques to restore the skin to a youthful appearance. These modern, technologically advanced skin rejuvenation techniques are clinically tested for their ability to reverse and prevent skin aging. Medically directed non-surgical or non-invasive skin rejuvenation techniques include the use of prescription topical creams, lasers, injectable dermal fillers, injectable paralytic agents like Botox® and Dysport®, skin tightening machines, IPL or intense pulsed light, and other technologically sophisticated skin rejuvenation devices. Although these techniques are non-surgical, treatment or direction by a medical doctor is essential for safety and effectiveness. Effective anti-aging skin rejuvenation is something you should seek in a doctor’s office or a medical spa with an onsite supervising physician and not in a day spa or salon with no doctor present.

What is the best skin anti-aging treatment?

The best anti-aging skin care treatment is actually a combination of multiple different skin rejuvenation options. Aging of the skin is caused by damage to three different layers of the skin including the surface epidermis, the deep skin dermis and the fat under the skin, the subcutaneous fat. No treatment can correct sun damage and aging to all three layers. A combined three layer or multilayer approach is required for effective skin rejuvenation because treatments must be directed at the surface, the deeper skin dermis, and the fat beneath the skin. Skin surface anti-aging treatments include exfoliation, prescription medications, laser skin treatments, intense pulse light or IPL treatments, and other surface treatments to remove blemishes such as fine wrinkles, dry skin, sun spots, age spots, pigment and red spots. Correction of deeper skin aging changes in the dermis requires production of new collagen and improvement in skin elasticity. New collagen production can be stimulated by prescription creams, laser treatments, and skin tightening treatments using radiofrequency, ultrasound, infrared and other heat producing technologies. Injectable facial fillers like collagen and hyaluronic acid can be used to plump the dermis and fill wrinkles and lines. Dynamic lines or wrinkles require relaxation of the muscles of the skin with agents like Botox® and Dysport®. Loss of facial volume caused by loss of fat requires adding volume to the deep layer using injectable dermal facial fillers or fat. Thus the best skin anti-aging technique is a combination of many different treatments which are discussed in detail below.

Learn More about Anti-Aging Treatments

Boston Plastic Surgery Specialists is a full service plastic surgery and medical spa practice, and offer a range of surgical and non-surgical anti-aging treatments. If you are interested in learning more about the procedures available, such as dermal fillers, laser skin resurfacing, IPL or microdermabrasion, contact Dr. Seckel today at 617-455-2859.


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