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What are wrinkles?
Wrinkles are creases or folds in the skin, mostly visible on the face and neck.
Wrinkles come about as a natural part of the aging process. Age causes collagen and elastin to weaken and the body’s production of these fibres begins to slow down very soon after one turns 20.
What are the chief causes of premature wrinkling?
Too much sun has been credited with being the number one cause of wrinkling. The sun’s UV rays causes oxidative stress and damage to the skin causing it to lose firmness, resulting in sagging and wrinkles while you are still young.
Smoking is responsible for a myriad of ailments and it is one of the top causes of premature wrinkling of the skin. Along with the sun, it causes significant free radical formation and therefore damage to the skin. It also causes diminished blood circulation globally to your skin and therefore your body cannot repair this damage effectively.
The muscular action one makes when smoking may also worsen wrinkle formation around the lips.
Staying hydrated is as important to staying healthy as it is to keeping your skin plumped and healthy looking. Lack of water will cause blood vessels in your skin to shut down, and fresh blood will not easily reach your skin to repair damage and deposit nutrients needed for young healthy skin.
Poor skin care often goes unnoticed as a cause of wrinkles. Using the wrong products which are not intended for your skin type may cause it to dry out. Using products that act as a barrier may only temporarily prevent water loss. They may also cause unwanted effects such as acne formation due to blocking pores. Using the right products however, that stimulate the skin to produce more collagen, elastin and other water retaining molecules, improves the skin’s hydration far more efficiently.
What can be done to prevent or remove wrinkles?
Preventing wrinkles is impossible but stemming their premature appearance can be achieved through avoiding those things that cause them
- Stay out of the sun or use a credible sunblock
- Use an SPF 30 or MORE (anything less is not good enough)
- Broad Spectrum cover – this means UVA and UVB (BOTH cause significant damage)
- Apply enough – 1x tablespoon of sunblock to each area of your body
- Apply often – EVERY morning to sun exposed areas; and if in the sun: every 2 HOURS
- no sunblock is waterproof (only water resistant): reapply after maximum 45 minutes of sweating or swimming, and reapply after each swim.
- Use skincare products formulated for your skin
- If you smoke, stop
- Stay hydrated
- Eat healthily, take in plenty of fruit and vegetables
- Avoid repetitive facial gestures like frowning and squinting
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If I have wrinkles what can I do to get rid of them?
Wrinkles will not be removed entirely but there are a number of cosmetic products and procedures which can reduce the appearance of wrinkles and ageing:
Certain procedures remove dead skin cells in order to encourage skin renewal
Microdermabrasion is the method whereby dead skin cells are removed by shooting fine particles at the skin (aluminium oxide is often used). The skin will be irritated and the process will only have removed surface cells. Microdermabrasion is most effective on the light lines forming on the skin.
More successful, a chemical peel is done by applying a chemical solution to the skin causing it to peel and in this way encourage new unwrinkled skin to grow.
This treatment is also effective on sun spots and freckles but has little impact on sagging skin or deep wrinkles. Chemical peels vary in strength and with that variation comes escalating recovery times and varying degrees of irritation to the skin: from a “lunch-time peel” with no downtime (can be done during a lunch break and go back to work), to more intense peels requiring a person to stay at home for a few days to a week.
Once the healing is complete the skin will appear significantly renewed.
With results that are decidedly longer lasting than microdermabrasion. The laser penetrates deeper and can be used with better precision. Done under a topical anaesthetic cream, the laser causes stimulation of the deeper skin cells, creating new healthier skin. The recovery period is usually 3-4 days, although one need not necessarily take time off work. This procedure has an immediate and desireable plumping effect on the skin.
Fourways Aesthetic Centre uses a fractional, non-ablative laser. This means that multiple laser beams are directed into the skin, but without taking away the epidermis, the superficial layer of skin. The cells affected are therefore only around the micro-beam and not along the entire surface of the skin. This results in a low downtime, and usually patients are able to return to work quickly, with only a light layer of foundation that adequately covers any resultant redness.
Results are excellent and although a few treatments may be required, results may last a number of years.
While there are abrasive treatments which remove the wrinkles from the outside there are also treatments which are equally effective in diminishing the appearance of wrinkles through injection.
Purified Botulinim toxin
What has become a rather popular anti-ageing product, is indeed a purified Botulinim toxin. This substance is used in dynamic wrinkles. This means in areas under which there is a lot of muscle activity, which crumples the skin above it. It achieves this by blocking the nerves of very specifically targeted muscles. Areas that respond very well to this form of treatment are
- the frown lines between the eyes
- forehead lines
- crow’s feet lines (smile lines around the eyes)
- chin dimpling and
- marionette lines.
The effects of these injections are visible for up to three months.
Dermal Fillers: Hyaluronic Acid
Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring substance found in the skin and is used as a filler for wrinkles, as well as shaping the face to replace volume lost with ageing. As hyaluronic acid is devoid of protein elements, it has an extremely low propensity to allergy formation. It is, therefore, the gold standard dermal filler substance in aesthetic medicine.
Certain wrinkles form as a result of sagging skin, due to volume loss and gravity. To correct these wrinkles, one needs to replace volume strategically to shape the face back to its youthful past. With strategically placed injections, one can bring back the youthful appearance to a number of areas of the face such as the forehead, nose, cheeks and mid face, chin, jawline, and reduction in nasolabial folds and jowls. Certain stubborn lines not responding to chemical peels and other treatments may also be filled. Results are excellent and may last up to 19 months, depending on the filler used.
Gaining the maximum benefit from any of these treatments is very much the same as preventing premature signs of ageing and will require you to abide by a few basic rules or lifestyle adjustments
- Avoid excessive sunlight
- Use a sunblock at ALL times
- Stop smoking
- Drink plenty of water
- Adopt a healthy diet with fresh fruit and vegetables
- Look after your skin with the right products and procedures to encourage renewed skin
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Information about healthy skin
When people say someone has skin like a baby, they mean it. Babies are born with soft, unblemished, plump skin and there are few among us who keep it.
The skin is primarily made up of a protein called keratin and on a daily basis through general wear and tear the dead skin cells are sloughed off and replaced by new ones.
As one gets older and puberty sets in there are a number of hormonal and glandular changes which take place. Teenagers are prone to pimples because of these changes, this, however, can be treated, with good hygiene, proper diet and the correct skin care regimen for your specific needs.
Stress, lack of fresh fruit and vegetables and not enough water can also add to the condition of your skin as a teenager and even into adulthood.
If you survived puberty and think that the good habits you practiced kept your skin acne free, you are probably right. But as you age you may want to stick to those habits. They seem to be just as important in the anti-ageing process.
As you get older the skin renewal process will slow down and take a little longer than before. Your natural supply of collagen and elastin, those fibres which helped keep you wrinkle free, is diminishing and your skin is no longer as resilient as it was.