Fighting Aging Skin
How can I fight the early signs of aging on my skin, namely fine wrinkles and brown spots? I don't want cosmetic surgery.
I have two words for you--sun block. Most of the skin changes associated with aging are due to sun damage. It doesn't matter if it is winter, it doesn't matter if it is cloudy, it doesn't matter if you are dark skinned--unprotected sun exposure will age your skin faster. Gravity and time have relatively little to do with it. As we all know, this effect is worse the paler you are and the more you have been exposed to sunlight. Still, the vast majority of sun exposure in our lifetimes occurs before age 18, even though the effects don't show up until now.
What can you do now?
Retin-A is one of the most popular treatments. It speeds up turn-over of the skin's surface, which in turn diminishes fine lines, and lightens dark spots. Alpha-hydroxy acids also work the same way, with less irritation and redness. Hydro-quinone can be used for pigmented spots.
The next step up are outpatient treatments.
Botox--that's botulism toxic--is all the rage. It works by paralyzing the muscles that cause the wrinkles. It can only be used on the forehead, maybe down as far as crow's feet. Remember that you loose ability to form facial expressions with the muscles that are taken out. Personally, I find some botox faces to be a little too serene looking and blank for my taste. Best to try a small area first, as opposed to the whole top third of your face.
Collagen can be injected for wrinkles that are a bit more defined. Laser treatments are the newest thing. Unlike lasers of the past, which involved major skin re-surfacing and recovery time, today's options are more varied and less drastic. Diminishing fine lines and pigmented areas, and slight overall tightening can be achieved with different types of lasers.
What doesn't work?
Facial exercises. You would actually increase wrinkles, if you did it enough. It is like the opposite of botox. Hormone replacement or estrogen. Big disappointment here. Early research and anecdotal reports had suggested that estrogens kept skin younger looking. Now, the evidence that it increases collagen production is equivocal. It seems like water retention may have been responsible for the appearance of decreased wrinkling.
What about all that other stuff you can buy at the make-up counter?
Moisturizers help you retain your own natural oils diminish the appearance of lines and keep the skin supple. There are alpha-hydroxy acid creams and make-ups over the counter, but to really to see a difference requires prescription strength. Likewise, with bleaching creams. Ex-foliates help by sloughing off the top layer. One of the reasons men's skin stays younger longer is because shaving is essentially ex-foliating. Though ex-foliation can be done easily and simply by soaking the face while showering and then gently scrubbing with a washcloth. Pores enlarge as we age, and astringents do shrink them temporarily and give the appearance of younger skin. Other than these, I know of nothing scientifically significant. Which is not the same as saying other products won't help give you the appearance you are seeking, just that they don't genuinely change the skin structure, only the appearance. Sometimes Revlon is easier and cheaper than multiple trips to the doctor.