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The style of aging

Style is an individual concept.  We recognize the bell bottoms, leg warmers and pillbox hats of the clothing industry.  We can also recognize hairstyles when we remember the wedge, the curly perm, and the notorious "Rachel" of the '90s.  Many men and women choose to color their hair over time which is a style of aging, but many don't realize that caring for the face is also a style that can be a choice.

By Chrissy Thomas RN, BSN

Aging effects may begin as early as our late twenties with small creases on the forehead and small frown lines.  Typically, in our thirties, we may notice more creasing around the eyes.  The skin may not be as fresh as the damaging effects of sun exposure start to surface and natural skin exfoliation slows down.  The forties may bring about volume loss in the lower face which creates a “sad mouth” or marionette appearance.  The fifties may bring more fat loss in the face which starts to create jowls and this, combined with thinning of the skin of the face and neck continue through the rest of our lives.  While it may sound like a hopeless spiral, there are many things that we can do to reverse the effects of aging and continue to look very natural and age-appropriate.  As we often say at About Face Skin Care, our job is not to make you look twenty-five again.  Our job is to make you look the best you can at the age you are now.  

As we notice the effects of aging on our face and neck area, we need to realize we have choices.  We can decide to age with no intervention and be satisfied with the changes that we see over time.  We can decide to age with surgical interventions, exploring eyelid lifts, facelifts, and neck lifts.  Lastly, we can choose to age with minimal intervention to look our best, but look appropriate for our age.  

For this article, we will focus on the group that would like to explore options to look natural and youthful.  There are five areas to consider as we age over time.  To look our best, we need to focus on exfoliation, even skin color, skin tightness, facial muscle tone, and maintaining the volume of the face.

1. Exfoliation:   Skin exfoliation naturally slows over time.  By the mid-twenties, natural skin exfoliation slows requiring external help to keep skin glowing.  Options may range from mechanical exfoliation, including microdermabrasion, Ultrasonic Facials, and Dermaplaning, or chemical exfoliation, such as chemical peels.  Products and tools may be purchased at drug stores and department stores that will help freshen skin and whisk away dead skin cells.  Be careful with scrubs that can be harsh on sensitive skin and create more damage.  A very popular option in today’s market is the Hydrafacial MD that combines mechanical and chemical exfoliation to smooth skin and soothe the skin with moisturizers.  No matter which type of exfoliation, this is a sure way to make skin look more smooth and to help return that light reflection glow.

2. Even Skin Color: When skin is one color it looks more youthful.  When we see ruddy, red skin or brown patches on the skin, we think of someone who has been exposed to sun rays or harsh weather.  There are products that will help with brown discolorations on the skin, such as hydroquinone based lotions and retinol. Often times, red skin is actually Rosacea and may require a dermatologist intervention if medication is necessary. Light therapy is one of the most effective ways to combat brown and red discolorations in the skin.  LED light therapy is a treatment that was originally developed by NASA to treat wounds in astronauts in space.  LED is an extremely gentle treatment that is safe on all skin types.  Red LED light will penetrate to the level where the discoloration is formed, breaking down the problem areas.  This treatment is slow and steady, but the safety factor in darker skin types makes it very popular.  Intense Pulse Light Therapy, or IPL, is an extremely effective way to make the skin color even.  IPL, just like LED, will use light to penetrate to the level where the color forms and break down discolorations.  IPL does a much more effective job, but may only be done on clients that do not have dark skin.

3. Skin Tightening:  Skin tightening comes in many forms.  A very popular type of treatment that not only tightens skin but also smoothes texture and evens color is called Collagen Induction Therapy or Microneedling.  In this popular treatment, tiny sterile needles are tapped into numb skin to create small channels. These channels will heal creating more collagen and thus, better skin.  Fractora is one of the most popular treatments offered in my practice.  Fractora works on the same principle with creating channels in the skin, but with Fractora, radio- frequency is emitted through the tiny needles to create a much greater degree of tightening.  

4. Facial Muscle Tone:  We naturally lose muscle tone over time. We can go to the gym and lift weights to combat this in the body, but there is little we can do at home to tighten and restore the muscle loss of the face.  Microcurrent facial toning is a treatment that stimulates muscles to grow stronger and tighter.  When we treat the face, we will notice cheeks lift and firm, frown lines decrease, and neck muscles smooth.  Once a few treatments are done weekly to get muscles firm, the result may be maintained with monthly treatments.  

5. Maintaining Volume in the Face:  Our faces are naturally fuller through our twenties and mid-thirties.  By the time we are in our mid-forties, we may notice a thinning of the face that will progress to show flatter cheeks and fuller jowls.  This progressive decrease in volume will create a “sad mouth” effect.  By injecting a bit of injectable filler to the cheekbone area, the jowl and lower face are lifted recreating the midface volume that was lost and lifting the jowls back to the original position.  Many clients appear to have lost weight after this treatment.  

As you can see, there are many tools to help the war on aging.  The first step is to decide how much you want to correct.  If your style is to do everything you can to turn back the clock, you may want to consider visiting a plastic surgeon to get options for facelifting, deeper chemical peels or fat transfers to the face.  If you want to do small tweaks to combat some of the more obvious signs of aging, you could visit a medical spa-like About Face Skin Care to discuss options that will keep you looking fresh and healthy.  Options in medical spas can range from simple facials to volumizing fillers.  The nonsurgical market has exploded with excellent options that correct problem areas with little to no downtime.  You may choose to age naturally and live happily with the signs of time, and this is an absolutely excellent choice if that is what you want.

Being comfortable in one’s skin and determining your style of aging is a personal choice that should be considered before creating permanent changes.  We are aging in a time where the options are endless.  So, just as you may choose skinny jeans over bell bottoms, your style of aging should fit you just right.

Chrissy Thomas, RN is the owner of About Face Skin Care in Snellville, Georgia. Formerly a Plastic Surgery nurse, Chrissy has operated About Face for the past fourteen years to help men and women look and feel their best with nonsurgical options for antiaging.  Free consultations are available to discuss your options with no pressure or obligation.  

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