Maybe you are at the age when you are beginning to look into ways to keep your skin looking younger. Or at the very least you might be thinking about protecting your skin from any further damage. We can’t do anything about growing older but the good news is that there is a lot we can do to keep our skin looking healthy and young. We have invited Dr. Lawrence Green, a practicing dermatologist who specializes in ways to rejuvenate skin, to talk with us about ways to minimize the effects of aging on our skin.
Question: What are some easy and inexpensive ways to keep skin looking younger?
Dr. Green: The simplest and least expensive way to keep your skin looking younger is to avoid things that are carcinogenic to come in contact with it. Carcinogens lead to cancer and wrinkles in the skin (by destroying the skin’s collagen). I think that ultraviolet radiation exposure (through the sun), and cigarette/cigar smoke are the most common skin carcinogens people come in contact with today. So put simply, avoiding unnecessary sun exposure, applying a daily moisturizer and sunscreen, and not smoking or being consistently around cigarette smoke are the easiest, and least expensive ways to keep skin looking younger.
Question: What are some ways a dermatologist can help a patient to decrease the signs of aging such as wrinkles, age spots, and sagging skin?
Dr. Green: Dermatologists specialize in performing what is called minimally invasive procedures to help improve aging skin. If the procedure can be done with no or local anesthesia, then a dermatologist is the best place to get it from. For example, dermatologists can help improve wrinkles and sun freckles by having you use specific creams targeted for what you most need, add some chemical peels (that can be superficial or medium depth), or add a series of microdermabrasions. Botox and various wrinkle fillers are quick fixes for wrinkles, depending on the area of the face you want improved.
On the more expensive side, dermatologists can use different types of lasers, or radiofrequency devices to help with wrinkles, sun freckles, or even some aspects of sagging skin. In contrast, I would recommend actually face lift surgery (where you need the type of anesthesia where you are put to sleep) from a plastic surgeon if you really want to correct very sagging skin.
Question: Which dermatology treatments are the least costly, the least likely to cause side effects, and don’t take much time?
Dr. Green: The least costly treatments for aging skin are also usually the ones that cause the least amount of side effects and take the least amount of time. For example, the dermatologist can provide you with prescription strength creams (usually sold at her/his office) to help with lessening sun damage, wrinkles, and irregular pigmentation.
Superficial chemical peels (which take about 10 minutes) and microdermabrasion (which takes 45 minutes) would be the next least likely to cause side effects. Superficial peels and microdermabrasions generally cost less than $150. Botox and wrinkle fillers can take less than 15 minutes to do, but can cost more than creams, peels, and microdermabrasion (although sometimes Botox can cost less than creams and peels/microdermabrasion if you don’t need to have that much placed in a given area).
Question: Are there any lifestyle choices which cause an accelerated aging process for the skin?
Dr. Green: I think as mentioned above, the best lifestyle choices you can make to avoid accelerating the aging process is to avoid unnecessary sun exposure, wear a daily moisturizer with sunscreen, and don’t smoke.
Thank you Dr. Green for sharing your expertise with us.
For more information about ways to reverse the signs of aging, how to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and increase the overall youthfulness of your skin, please refer to the following Health Central articles: