If we are lucky, Facial Aging is something we all experience. It can present as changes in skin tone or coloration, fine lines or deeper wrinkles, and even loose or saggy skin. It happens, if we stick around long enough. While Facial Aging cannot be altogether prevented, how you look is influenced by how you treat your skin. Some of our normal daily activities help, while others hinder the effects of time.
Good Genes and Bad Habits
We all know someone who never wears sunscreen, drinks, smokes and whose skin looks great. It’s hard to beat youth and good genes, but you can if you try hard enough. Skin likes Protection, Hydration and Circulation, so here’s how to earn your PhC in beautiful skin:
- Protection – Prevention is the best medicine, and this is true for your skin, too. While we need a small amount of sunlight to activate vitamin D, the amount we subject our skin to, especially when we are young, is excessive. The high-energy ultra-violet light in the sun’s rays breaks the DNA inside the skin cells. At a minimum, sunshine dehydrates the skin, but it also damages the elastic fibers that keep skin supple, reduces the skin’s ability to heal itself and if too much damage is done, leads to the development of skin cancer. We would all treat cancer after it’s found, but why not treat it before it starts, by protecting your skin?
Skin cancer can occur even where the sun does not shine, but it is most commonly found in areas exposed to the sun. Moreover, the risk of Skin Cancer increases with the amount of sun exposure. Today, sunscreen is incorporated into many moisturizers, cosmetics and even fabrics. Hats and long sleeves help, but sunscreen is a must. Personally, I could not survive a trip to Hawaii without sunscreen, a hat and a swim shirt. When I was young, it may not have made me look cool, but it did allow me to have fun with my friends without a week of recovering from sunburns. Now, if you go to the beach, sunscreen and sun shirts are common, and using them shows that you care about your body.
- Hydration – Our skin keeps us from drying out, but it is not impermeable. I remember a junior high school science project during which we placed a plastic bag over one hand. The water that is normally lost through the skin was trapped in the bag. It made it quite clear that we are constantly dehydrating.
If you’ve ever watched Naked and Afraid, or any of the other survivor “reality” shows, you know that water is more important than food. Keeping hydrated keeps us healthy. It improves circulation and allows the body to rid itself of toxins. Alcohol, on the other hand, tends to dehydrate us, so all things in moderation.
You can help your skin by using a moisturizer. Moisturizers do not supply moisture to the skin, but trap the normal water that is lost through the skin. Petroleum Jelly (Vaseline) is very effective. It certainly helps injured skin heal with better scars, but its sheen is a bit obvious and it greasiness makes using vaseline quite messy. Most moisturizers are not as good as Vaseline, but are easier to live with. It’s a compromise.
- Circulation – Good hydration promotes good circulation. The blood is mostly water, and when we are dehydrated the skin suffers more than another other organ. Circulation is also effected by our habits. Good habits, like daily exercise, promotes increased circulation and may improve the look of our skin, too. Bad habits, like smoking, decreases circulation, and the skin is especially hard hit.
As a Cosmetic Plastic Surgeon, I am operating on the skin, and I need healthy skin and circulation to get the best results. Several cosmetic operations are known to have increased risk in people who smoke. For procedures like Face Lifts, Breast Reduction and Tummy Tucks, smoking increases the risk of wound healing problems by six-fold. Because of this, Plastic Surgeons recommend smoking stop at least four weeks before and after any elective surgery. If you can quit smoking for surgery, you can quit for life, literally your life.
Good Genes and Good Sense
There are many simple actions we can take to keep our face and skin happy, and earn our skin a PhC. You have probably heard many of them before, like eating right and sleeping, but good advice only works if you act on it. I will share additional pearls in additional posts.
With the title How to Help Your Face, you might have thought I was going to review all the plastic surgery options for Facial Rejuvenation. That information is certainly available here on the the San Francisco Plastic Surgery Blog. The most common, Eyelid Surgery (Blepharoplasty), Face Lifts (Rhytidectomy), Nasal Surgery (Rhinoplasty), Chemical Peels, Fillers and even Botox, all work better with skin that is cared for.
If you would like to learn more about Facial Plastic Surgery procedures, feel free to follow the links in this post article to access more information, or give me a call at (925) 943-6353, to schedule a personal consultation appointment at our San Francisco Bay Area Plastic Surgery office in Walnut Creek, CA.Previous Post Next Post