Over our lifetime, our facial skin will endure the stresses of intrinsic and extrinsic aging. Intrinsic aging is genetically programmed and happens naturally. Examples of intrinsic aging can be skin that begins to sag, loss of underlying fat in the facial area which leads to hollow eye sockets and cheeks, fine wrinkles, skin that is dry and itchy, translucent skin and also the inability of the skin to sweat sufficiently.
Extrinsic aging is a result of environmental factors that collectively over time causes damage to our skin. Cigarette smoking is an example of extrinsic aging. Research has shown that a person who smokes an average of 10 or more cigarettes a day for a minimum of ten years will likely develop deep wrinkles and leathery skin.
A study by American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) found that sleeping positions over a period of time can also lead to deep facial wrinkling. The study showed that women who favor sleeping on their sides tend to develop wrinkle lines on their chin and cheeks. Men, on the other hand, who tend to sleep with their faces down on the pillow, develop wrinkle lines on their foreheads. The AAD recommends sleeping on your back to avoid wrinkle formation.
Another key extrinsic aging factor is the sun. Exposing your skin for a few minutes a day, unprotected to the sun’s rays can cause severe aging of the skin. Dermatologists have named this type of aging “photoaging”. Photoaging occurs when the skin is constantly exposed to the sun’s rays and damage results in leathery skin and the loss of the skin’s ability to repair itself.
It was once believed that photoaging was irreversible, but this belief began to change after a landmark study in 1988 by John Voorhees and colleagues at the University of Michigan, showed that Retinoic Acid can repair wrinkles and improves the appearance of skin that has been damaged by photoaging. Retinoic acid is made in the body from Vitamin A, and contributes to the growth and development of cells, mainly in the embryo. Thirty years ago the Retin-A treatment was initially used for acne treatment, however, patients noticed an overall improvement of their skin appearance.
Here in our practice, our patients have enjoyed terrific results for sun-aged skin through the treatments offered by the Fraxel Re:Store Dual (the newest Fraxel) and the IPL Laser. These two devices have really made a different in our patients’ results.