Facial skin aging begins at the age of 25. It can, however, be prevented, delayed and even reversed.
Eternal youth is still unattainable. Nevertheless, nowadays science can provide us with products, treatments and good habits which can slow the aging process down in ways that were once unthinkable and can, if necessary, reverse it.
What are the causes of facial aging? Chronoaging.
The first wrinkles start to appear around the age of 25. Why does it occur? At this age, certain processes begin to take place inside the dermis, i.e. the deep part of the skin. Such events are the result of internal factors, linked to so-called chronoaging, that is to the inevitable aging process that affects all living beings.
A decrease in fibroblast number.
With age, the number of skin fibroblasts decreases, together with their ability to reproduce. This is an issue for our skin, since these are cells which are responsible for producing the components of the extracellular matrix: elastin, collagen and glycosaminoglycans, the precursor sugars to hyaluronic acid. As the amount of these elements decreases (after 25 years of age, collagen and elastin production goes down by 1% each year) the dermis begins to collapse: the skin starts aging and our face’s natural contour and fullness deteriorates.
As we age, the small blood vessels in the dermis dilate and lose elasticity. Consequently, the amount of blood, oxygen and nutrients that reaches the cells also decreases and the latter, given the lower energy supply, produce a smaller amount of collagen and elastin.
An increase in oxidative stress.
Add to these degenerative processes the deleterious production of free radicals. These infamous molecules are waste products formed inside cells. In physiological conditions, they are neutralized by antioxidant substances present in our body, but when this delicate balance is tipped, so-called “oxidative stress” is generated, which compromises fibroblasts’ natural functioning.
Photoaging and lifestyle-related aging.
Exposure to UV rays, especially if you have sensitive skin, is a powerful accelerator of the chronoaging process. Exposure to the sun without proper protection can lead to wrinkles developing even before the age of 25, and to sunspots and skin discolourations appearing over the years.
Let us not forget the worst of our vices: alcohol, smoking and sugars. A real siege on our skin, especially when combined, as happens all too often.
How can one control facial aging? Prevention, as always, is the best cure.
The list of skin’s enemies is a long one, but the good news is it isn’t unbeatable. Even chronoaging, albeit an inevitable process, can be extensively controlled. Prevention, however, has a strict rule: to start immediately, even before the first wrinkles appear. And then persevere!
The first habit that cannot be neglected is to remove one’s make-up every night before going to bed, and to moisturize the skin with a cream which is appropriate for your skin type. For the most diligent among us, there is a full night-time routine, complete with specific serums before moisturizing and an anti-wrinkle mask once a week.
The one and only prevention for photoaging is the one we love to forget: apply proper sunscreen with an appropriate sun protection factor (SPF).
Likewise, both chronoaging and photoaging can be controlled by giving up bad habits such as smoking and alcohol, which promote oxidative stress, and by following a healthy diet (rich in antioxidants and fiber and low in sugars). And don’t forget regular physical activity, stress reduction and cutting down on exposure to environmental pollution.
Cosmetic medicine’s remedies for a youthful skin.
There are cases when the aforementioned practices don’t suffice, and wrinkles and other blemishes start to constitute a problem for us, especially if they affect our self-esteem and self-perception. Nowadays, cosmetic medicine offers many solutions for those on a search for youthful skin without resorting to invasive and expensive plastic surgery solutions.
The remedies of aesthetic medicine feature an undisputed protagonist: hyaluronic acid. This substance is naturally present in the dermis, where it hydrates and tones the skin thanks to its ability to attract and retain water. With aging, the amount of hyaluronic acid in our body is reduced, but it can at least temporarily be restored thanks to the application of a filler, and thus resume its moisturizing action of cellular renewal.
The extraordinary properties of hyaluronic acid and its minimal invasiveness also make it ideal for synergistically combining different facial treatment, meaning it can be added, after careful medical evaluation, in an actual personalized protocol. Furthermore, its bio-availability also makes it extremely versatile: it is suitable for the treatment of almost any facial cosmetic issue, and at any age. From the thirty-year-old who wants to preserve her luminous skin to the seventy-year-old in need of a natural-looking facial contour reshaping.
Here are the most suitable and requested hyaluronic acid-based treatments, following the changing needs of different ages.
If it’s true it’s never too early to start anti-aging prevention, this also applies to cosmetic medicine treatments. For example, between the ages of 25 and 30, epithelial cells’ production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid is slowed, and therefore possible to stimulate them with a specific treatment. Picotage, as the name implies (“pinch” in French) is a truly minimally invasive technique which is also perfect for those with a natural aversion to needles.
The dermatologist or cosmetic doctor (remember only professionals are licensed for this treatment) gives the patient hyaluronic acid-based micro-injections at a depth of 2-3 mm in the papillary dermis, i.e. the superficial, cell-rich layer of the dermis, which is most affected by the harmful effects of sunlight. The results are immediately evident: the skin is younger, radiant and toned. And the hidden effects are as important as the apparent ones: the injections stimulate a restructuring of the skin, hydrate the cellular matrix and neutralize free radicals. It also primes the skin to protect itself from UV rays, which makes picotage one of the few treatments that can be done even in summer.
After the age of 30, when the first blemishes due to chronoaging emerge, it may be appropriate to resort to a biorevitalization treatment. This anti-aging regenerating technique is performed via deeper micro-injections than picotage, 5- to 6 millimeters deep, which target the reticular dermis, i.e. the layer poorest in cells and richest in fibers. Broadly speaking, based on the desired result, other active ingredients are added to hyaluronic acid: vitamins and antioxidants to revitalize the skin, nucleic acids to treat wrinkles.
The goal of biorevitalization is to help the skin produce collagen and elastin, the elastic fibers which are responsible for skin turgor and tone; it is generally performed on the face, but can also be applied to the neck, where the skin is very thin and ages faster.
Specific fillers for facial rejuvenation.
Nowadays, hyaluronic acid-based fillers are the most popular aesthetic treatments for those who want to treat more specific aging-related facial blemishes. Filler micro-injections are normally performed with the following aims:
Volumizing lips, chin and cheekbones. It’s not just about volumizing lips that are too thin and or ill- defined. One can also restore support and prominence to cheekbones that have hollowed out, and to a maxillary line that has lost its definition. The effects of this treatment last about 6 months for the lips, and up to 12 months for the cheekbones and chin.
Neck and décolleté. The “rings of Venus”, i.e. the horizontal wrinkles that wrap around the neck like a natural necklace, are due both to the effect of chronoaging and to a wrong posture. Nowadays, because of our posture in front of computers and mobile phones, we have to deal with “tech neck”. But don’t worry, hyaluronic acid fillers can smooth out these neck lines, and the effects lasts about 12 months.
Correct wrinkles around the eyes. The filling of expression lines, crow’s feet, or glabellar lines is a typical filler treatment. The effects last 2/3 months.
Acne and scarring. Hyaluronic acid, via tissue regeneration, is an effective method for eliminating acne scars (also for cystic acne) or other surgical scars.
When timely, these treatments are excellent alternatives to invasive and expensive surgery. Compared to the latter, hyaluronic acid fillers allow for natural, and above all reversible, effects. The difference between surgery and cosmetic treatment lies precisely in this: the former is a one-time operation and has definitive and irreversible effects, while the latter is an “appointment with beauty” to be repeated often and, if we may add, with a positive and joyful spirit.