As you get older and you start to notice subtle changes in your skin, from those first few lines and wrinkles to dark circles under your eyes, you probably have a number of questions about the best ways to deal with the signs of aging, what works, and why these things are happening. Working with a facial plastic surgeon who specializes in treating the aging face can help you plan the best course of action for dealing with wrinkles, lines and other issues. In the meantime, finding out the answers to some of the more commonly asked questions can help you determine if it’s time to work with a surgeon or not.
What Skincare Products Actually Work?
Many people have been there. They’ve just shelled out $25, $50, or even more than $100 for a one ounce bottle of something and they can only hope it works. Knowing what ingredients actually help and which ones are just filler will keep you from dropping a pretty penny on a useless product.
If your big concern is wrinkles, look for products that contain retinoids. The prescription strength form of retinoids is Retin-A, but many people see results using a less concentrated version, available over the counter. Retinoids help increase cell turnover and increase collagen, so dead skin is swept away and the skin becomes thicker and firmer.
A number of ingredients can be effective if you are also concerned about hyperpigmentation. Sunscreen helps reduce the likelihood that dark spots or hyperpigmentation will develop, while stronger, prescription-strength ingredients such as hydroquinone can help fade any existing spots.
How Do You Treat Dark Circles?
People often wonder about what they can do about dark circles under their eyes. Dark circles develop for a number reasons, from thinning skin under the eyes to pigmentation. Dry skin can make circles more visible, as can a lack of sleep.
There are a variety of ways to minimize the appearance of the dark circles. In some cases, concealing them with makeup is the easier solution. If the circles are visible because the skin is thin and blood vessels are showing through, treatment with a dermal filler, known as a tear trough correction, might be a good solution. Fillers provide temporary results and usually last less than one year. But, if you like the results, you have the option of repeating the treatment after the initial filler wears off.
Why Am I Still Getting Acne?
Plenty of people assume that acne is just a teenager’s problem, only to find out when they get to their 20s, 30s, or beyond, that it’s a problem that can continue on into, or even develop, in adulthood. Usually, adult acne is connected to hormones. Any changes in your hormone levels, such as around your period, during pregnancy or when you’re going through menopause, can lead to a breakout. Stress can also make acne worse, as can using products on your skin that clogs pores. Not washing your face regularly can also lead to a breakout.
There are several ways to cope with or treat acne as an adult. Your surgeon might first recommend over-the-counter products that contain salicylic acid, which can help exfoliate the top layer of skin and keep pores clear, or products that contain benzoyl peroxide, which helps kill bacteria on the skin that causes pimples. Stronger treatments can include a Retin-A prescription or in-office treatments such as a chemical peel.
Why is My Skin Red?
Red skin can happen to anyone and it can happen for a variety of reasons. One cause is rosacea, a condition connected to inflammation of the skin. Rosacea can often look like acne, but is typically located in the nose and cheek area, while many cases of adult acne center on the chin. There’s no way to cure rosacea, but many people find that avoiding things that trigger it – such as spicy food, alcohol, and heat – can help them avoid flare-ups.
Am I Too Young For …?
Generally, age is just a number when it comes to the signs of aging. A hodgepodge of factors, from lifestyle choices to genes, determine when you start showing signs of aging and how severe those signs are. If you are bothered by something, such as lines between your eyebrows, lines by your nose and mouth, or spots on your face and hands, it’s a good idea to speak to a facial plastic surgeon about the ways to treat those issues. Usually, the younger you are, the less invasive the treatment will be.
Dr. Jessica Kulak is an aging face specialist at the Naderi Center in Virginia and Maryland. She’s available to answer any questions you might have about your skin, aging, and the best ways to care for skin. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Kulak at the practice in Virginia, call (703) 481-0002. For a consultation in Maryland, call (301) 222-2020.