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Up until our 20s, aging is seen primarily in growth and development of our bodies. Past this point, the effects of aging become visible in our skin. Chronological aging of our skin is the result of chemical changes in the elastin and collagen that make up our connective tissue. It is collagen and elastin that provide skin with its elasticity and firmness. As we age, we loose this elasticity and firmness.
As skin looses its elasticity and firmness, it becomes drier. With age, the underlying fat in our skin is lost. With this loss of fat and connective tissue, the skin begins to sag and wrinkle. It looks and feels less supple.
At what age and how quickly our skin ages is different for different people. This aspect of skin aging has much to do with genetics. There are other factors associated with the rate and age at which skin ages, called photoaging. Photoaging refers to the long term effects of sun exposure on the skin. Other lifestyle factors can be major contributors to skin aging as well, including smoking. There are a variety of signs that skin is aging. These include:
Medications available to treat hair loss
Although there are many treatments on the market today, very few have clinically proven results. For this reason, only a handful of medications have been approved by the FDA. These FDA medications include:
1) Liver spots
These spots have nothing to do with the liver. They are directly related to both age and photoaging. These spots have the appearance of brown areas and are often found on the face, hands, feet and back - the areas most often exposed to the sun.
Also called broken capillaries, these are dilated facial blood vessels and are often caused by sun exposure. These are treatable by a dermatologist.
3) Seborrheic keratoses
These look like brown or black raised spots on the skin, but can also resemble a wart. These are not cancerous or precancerous and can be removed by a dermatologist.
4) Actinic keratoses
These look similar to seborrheic keratoses, but could be more dangerous as they may be a precursor to squamous cell carcinoma.
Wrinkles are the result of changes in the elastic tissue of skin due to exposure to the sun, gravity, or repeat motion of the skin. Wrinkles can be treated by a dermatologist with dermatologic surgery.
Anti Aging Skin Care
Moderate manifestations of aging on the skin can be effectively treated with topical treatments and anti aging products such as gels and anti-aging skin creams. Topical treatments can include:
This is part of the vitamin A family and is the only prescription treatment approved by the FDA for the treatment of wrinkles, rough skin and blotchy skin pigmentation associated with sun exposure.
2) Alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs)
These products are derived from a number of dairy and fruit products and are often used in combination with tretinoin for treatment of mildly sun damaged skin.
3) Temporary relief
Many over the counter products are available that contain retinols - a member of the vitamin A family, AHAs, anti oxidants and moisturizers. Anti oxidants often rely on vitamins C and E that help to repair cells damaged by the effects of sun exposure and smoking. Talk to a dermatologist about what anti aging skin creams and treatments are most suitable for your aging skin. A number of surgeries and treatments are available for extremely damaged skin. Learn more about cosmetic surgery. Read about Botox treatments.
The American Academy of Dermatology has developed an excellent resource for information about acne and skin diseases. Excellent resources and research articles on skin conditions can be found online at the Archives of Dermatology.
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